Monday, April 13, 2009

Pick up our cross

Reality sometimes smacks us in the face. Because of our sin, we live in a cursed creation (Genesis 3:17-19) and suffering is quite often the norm. God did not intend this kind of life for His creatures. However, God is able to show His amazing love for us because of this. This is why He created us knowing full well what we would end up doing with our free will, namely shaking our fists in His face. Even in light of this, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Christ suffered more than any man in order to atone for the sins we have committed. He rose victorious, defeating death and providing for us eternal life!

God's loving provision does not stop there. He makes sure as we live our lives we are provided for (Matthew 6:25-34). He promises to provide what we need without fail. While there will be suffering in this life (2 Timothy 3:12), God's glory will be displayed through this suffering (Romans 8:18) and everything that happens will work together for our good (Romans 8:28). Jesus will return and transform this wicked world into a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1). Those who have done evil and have not repented will face the justice that has been prepared for them, those who have called upon the name of the Lord will live with Him forever.

Furthermore, God has promised that if we walk with Him, nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-39), and if we are in Jesus Christ, we cannot be defeated (2 Corinthians 4:8-11). Even in all our weakness and strife, God promises His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Finally, we can take comfort in the great testimony of those who have gone before us. They suffered far worse torment than we do, and they have been glorified and are now with God (Hebrews 12:1). The Church was built on the testimony of the martyrs.

God's word gives us words to comfort us even in the hardest times we may face. Praise Him, for He is Love (1 John 4:8, 16), and He is good (Job 36:26). So, pick up your cross and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24). It is the least we can do in response to His great love!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones,
Died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth,
Watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean vast of blessing,
’Tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
’Tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to Thee!

O The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus. Samuel Trevor Francis (1875), Welsh melody adapted by Thomas John Williams (1890)


jcoolio said...

Indeed the Church may be built on the testimony of the martyrs, but the martyrs of the first ten centuries (and those Orthodox martyrs thereafter) are singing a song far different than what Protestants are singing.

bossmanham said...

I'm pretty sure the early church fathers would sing the five solas right along with us, :-)

I'll post on it someday.

Jonathan said...

What type of promise do you think this is? "God's loving provision does not stop there. He makes sure as we live our lives we are provided for (Matthew 6:25-34). He promises to provide what we need without fail."

As I exit the Army without a job lined up, without a home, without health insurance, without tangible security I have often wondered about the promise above. How many Christians have suffered despite that promise? Thoughts?

bossmanham said...

This world is cursed by sin. That's why we must remember, God provides what we need, not what we think we need. There are many people who have become Christians and have been killed the next day. God knows what we need. He does not fail. This life is only temporal. God's ultimate provision is our salvation so we can live painless and sinless with Him for eternity.

bossmanham said...

Also, Jonathan, Paul said, "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Any hardship we go through in this life is nothing to what Jesus went through for us. I don't know if that thought will help comfort you, but I know it helps me deal with suffering.

I will be praying for you. :-)