|Posted on December 11, 2021 at 11:15 AM|
Discouragement is difficult to avoid these days. Mental health issues, addiction and anxiety are on the rise – even among Christians. A news broadcast can make us feel fearful and uncertain, and a sense of isolation is more common than not. When you add to that some of the natural circumstances of our human condition – failing health, financial strain, relationship tension – it’s hard not to be discouraged.
We all have a yearning to be in control of our own destiny. When some rock in the pathway causes us to stumble (whether spiritually, emotionally or physically), that authority over our own lives is challenged. Often we respond to the threat in ways that are not very Christ-like. We see how hard we’ve been struggling and ask God ‘why?’ It’s even easier to compare our lot with that of those around us and wonder about the justice of life, and more importantly, how God can allow situations to unfold.
But we must separate our view of justice from God’s. We are so fortunate that He doesn’t see it in the same way we do. If God were to mete out what we deserve it would be all bad, because we sure don’t want to pay for every single thing we could be held accountable for. For us, justice starts with a level playing field. For God, it starts wherever we need Him to be, and in whatever way we invite Him in.
Quite frankly, to think we deserve some kind of elevated existence is a bit entitled really. It’s easy for us to think we are property owning, happiness deserving, easy street living children of God. Instead, we should keep focused on the fact that we are only stewards here – and we actually own (and are certainly owed) nothing.
The Christians at Thessalonica initially thought that they would all be living at the time of Christ’s return. While they understood that Christ had risen from the dead, they still held to their fleshly thoughts that their own physical bodies could be destroyed by the circumstance of the human condition – particularly death.
Clearly, they believed that their suffering was only going to be for a short time. Imagine their disappointment when realizing there was no guarantee that they would be exempt from the same trouble the world experienced.
But Paul comforted them with the knowledge that we don’t have to “sorrow as others who have no hope.” In 1 Thessalonians 4 he reminded them that “if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”
So, if death can’t even hold us how could any other threat? It’s our nature to want to be in charge, and to think we should have some implicit protection from the insanity of the world. But what we have instead is far more valuable. We have the promise of eternity.
Psalm 46:2 tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.” In other words, no matter what our human circumstance is, God is with us and He has our back.
We may not be exempt from sorrow, but it holds no power over us. Because we are not in control – our Heavenly Father is. As we begin to look at the upcoming new year, let’s make a promise to shift our thinking from what’s going on today, and hold onto what is promised for tomorrow.
Be blessed, my Friend. God is on the throne.