O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. -- Isaiah 54:11
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
When we are in the midst of any trial or difficulty – shoot, life in general, the old daily grind, it’s sometimes hard to imagine that it will ever change or get better. Whether it is the sleep-deprived parents of a newborn, a victim of abuse and oppression, a soldier in a war zone, someone struggling with disease and ill-health, a person in severe financial straits, or any other prolonged difficulty, we may begin to think that our trial will never end. We will be miserable and beaten-down, sick and grieving until we die.
The bad news is that sometimes our trials do end only when we pass from this life. The good news is there is no such thing as a dead Christian because, as Jesus said, everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die (John 11:26). Yes, I know I’ve gone to church with some, too, but you notice He qualifies it by saying they have to be alive to begin with.
I have no real reason to complain about my life – not that that’s ever stopped me. I’m sometimes overworked and tired, and I’m getting old. I don’t get to spend as much time with the grandkids as I would like. I don’t get to ride my motorcycle as much as I would like. I don’t get to fish as much as I would like. Things don’t always turn out the way I would like. This country elected Barack Obama twice. There were 112 episodes of “Eight is Enough” and 13 episodes of “Firefly”. As Jubal Early might say, Does that seem right to you?
It’s all pretty minor stuff against infinity and eternity. The compensation God promises is really all out of proportion to the transit sufferings of even a lifespan of a hundred years. You could argue that I’m not really qualified to make that statement. I’ve never been in much physical pain for more than a few hours, but I have been afflicted, “storm-tossed and not comforted”, and I would say that most of us have been or will be. Perhaps the reason I have not been tried to the extreme that others have is because I could not stand up under more pressure and strain. If someone else has endured more, they are better able to endure it. This, too, is a promise of which I must remind myself often: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).