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Sunday, 21 August 2011

When the going gets tough!

"It's not fair!"  "Why is this happening to me?"  "This is all wrong!"

I suspect that all of us have uttered such words - or others that are very similar - when we find ourselves in a particular situation, or set of circumstances.  It's a perfectly natural reaction to what we perceive as some form of injustice or other.

For the disciple of Jesus there is sometimes the added burden of thinking that this is God punishing me for my sinfulness.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  We do not worship a vindictive God, but One Who has revealed Himself, in the Son, as Love (I Jn.4:8,12).  And, of course, Jesus Himself has already taken the
punishment for our sins.  "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God;" (I Peter 3:18; my emphasis). 

The blood that He shed at Calvary covers all of my sins, and Father God looks at me through Him.  Of course, I must never try to cover up my sin.  That was the 'mistake' that Adam and Eve made way back in the Garden of Eden!  "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." (I John 1:9-10)

The Christian life, if lived out Biblically, is not for the faint-hearted!  There is no promise, of which I am aware, that following Jesus will turn our lives into beds of roses.  Rather, He said, "In the world you have tribulation;" - but He went on: "... but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

The difference for the disciple of Jesus is not that troubles all evaporate, but that He is in there with them. "... I am with you  always ..." (Matt 28:20) means exactly that!  This is what sustains those in at least fifty nations around the world who suffer privation and persecution some of which I would hesitate to share  as it would offend the sensibilities of too many!

So, if life seems tough just now, that may be because it is!  But if you are following the Saviour - however imperfectly! - follow also the advice of the old chorus:

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

Remember: "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose" (Rom 8:28; my emphasis)

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