Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"How Far We've Come"

What a great song:
"I believe the world is burning to the ground
Oh well I guess we're gonna find out
Let's see how far we've come (right now)
Let's see how far we've come
Well I, believe, it all, is coming to an end
Oh well, I guess, we're gonna pretend,
Let's see how far we've come (oh yeah)
Let's see how far we've come"

It's truly apocalyptic; it's about "revealing," about pulling back the curtain to see what's really taking place. And that's what we Christians get with suffering. (No, I'm not done with that theme yet.) God is all about using the things that go wrong in this world, to the benefit of His Beloved. It's when things fall apart, when we're stripped bare, that we found out who we really are. Do you keep your kind tone with the kids when you're head is throbbing? Do you fight to overturn Roe vs. Wade, even when it means electing someone who might cripple your family budget even more? Do you still love and desire good for your spouse (angry and hurt as you might be) when they demand a "no fault" divorce? Is God still an "Awesome God" when your body is riddled with cancer?

It's easy to have Faith when everything is going well -but Faith is proved, and reinforced, and deepened when we live it in the midst of suffering. To be real, it has to be lived! And living it gives a union with God, even now, that carries us through. Give these verses a couple of minutes:

Jesus in John 16:33, "In this world YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

1 Peter 1:6-9, "For a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

James 1:2-5, "Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

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