I can’t remember a time when so many friends were under such physical, mental, and/or spiritual attack. Maybe it’s a sign of my age. Maybe it’s the result of the chaos in the sin-filled world we live in. I don’t know. I do know that there are many people suffering and being challenged.
Look at the number of despondent people that you encounter every day. Road rage, violence, suicide, drug abuse, and divorce rates among the rich and famous are no different from those of modest means. The incidence of “bad behavior” among the social elite and politicians is an embarrassment to those of us who hold to a biblical worldview of what’s good and decent.
Discouragement is often seen in the hearts of those who struggle with relationships. Despite all the great technology assisting us with communication, when it comes to effectively communicating love and heartfelt matters between individuals, many people experience frustration and disappointment. This is especially true within a family and with those we love the most.
One of them, named Cleopas, asked him [the stranger walking in their midst], “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel…”
A few years ago, we lost some great men and women when the Columbia Space Shuttle vaporized on its reentry from space. One of those individuals was Col. Mike Anderson, the second African-American astronaut. He looked at life with a unique spiritual insight. Col. Anderson was from Spokane, Washington and attended a little local Baptist church not far from our home.
With Bob on its back, the deer passed by his two astonished friends who were laughing out loud and evaluating Bob’s ability to stay on. While trying to keep his balance, all Bob could do was “hang on” to the antlers and ride it out. He knew that eventually, the animal would slow down enough for him to escape.
Bill caught a pike and was in the process of taking one of the treble hooks out when the fish jumped. The radical movement embedded a set of treble hooks into each hand. With the subsequent movements of the fish, the barbs of the hooks penetrated to the bone at the base of both thumbs.
As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life… I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.
An Ironman Triathlon is about as grueling as it gets. Think about this – swim 2.4 miles in cold water, bicycle in the wind 112 miles, and then run/walk 26.2 miles in the heat of the day. The premiere athletes, who finish in the top two or three positions, complete the 140 mile course in eight and a half hours. For many the day is much longer, lasting up to 17 hours. While we live out our lives on earth, sufferings and trials can teach us to develop patience and perseverance.
Jesus offers rest for us at the core of who we are when we surrender. We can be confident that He is walking with us, partnering with us in our journey (the yoke he offers) and thankful that the burden we are getting in exchange for the one we’re carrying will be easy to bear. Sounds like a no-brainer deal to me.
When those very tough trials come that test your faith, can you rest in God as your refuge and strength?
We need to stand strong for God’s truth, no matter what the rest of the world is telling us. We need to persevere in our faith and obedience.