Colorado National Speedway
June 9, 2018
2 Corinthians 1: 3-7:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion, mercy, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our worst troubles, so that we can comfort those experiencing the same pain or any other trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God. You can be sure that the more we undergo sufferings for Christ, the more He will shower us with His comfort and encouragement. So, our comfort is abundant through Christ. (GBB)
Then the Apostle Paul writes us this in verse 6-7:
“We are in deep trouble for bringing you God’s comfort and salvation. But in our trouble God has comforted us—and this, too, to help you: to show you from our personal experience how God will tenderly comfort you when you undergo these same kinds of sufferings. He will give you the strength to endure just as we have.” (GBB)
Life is a challenge. It wasn’t meant to be that way, but mankind’s fall has made it that way and our daily war with evil will continue until Jesus comes again to put an end to it once and for all.
However, since God knew this would happen He already had a plan in place to help us endure and conquer the wiles of His enemy.
His plan was not limited to one, however, there is one I want to focus upon here. This is maybe the one that most people including His own disciples questioned the most.
Bad things happening to good people is what I am talking about. Whether you see people born with handicaps, or getting diabolical diseases, having terrible things happen to themselves or loved ones leaves you with questions no one can answer.
The scripture we read is part of this answer. Yes, there are other scriptures we can use also, however there is one that is my favorite and has numerous facets to it, …even humor to me!
We find it in John 9 about the man born blind. It begins with Jesus and His disciples walking past the blind man and the disciples asking Jesus why that man was born blind. They also ask who sinned? Him or his parents that he was born blind?
Jesus answers them in verse 3 – 5: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but to demonstrate the power of God and His works can be displayed in him. All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the One who sent Me, so that the acts of God may be revealed through what happens to him, for there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end. 5 But while I am still here in the world, I give it My light.” (GBB)
Then Jesus heals the man and the Pharisees go nuts. They drag the man into their “court” twice, and even the man’s parents trying to prove the whole thing was bogus. I love it when the second time they drag the former blind man in and he throws it in their face in verse 26-27: “Then they asked him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once; didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become His disciples too?” (GBB)
You see, God created us to fellowship with Him, but also to glorify Him. He uses us to glorify Himself in ways we certainly do not understand.
One of the ways is through our faith in Him which leads us to our RESPONSES to Him through the hard, and seemingly unfair, life situations we can find ourselves in, or even born into like handicaps.
You ever heard that saying “Everything happens for a reason?” Well, in God’s plan it’s true. He may allow a lot of things to go wrong, but He also knew it was going to happen eons before you were born and has a plan to turn it for good. (Romans 8:28-30) 8 “And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His purpose and plans. 29 For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to Him—and all along He knew who would—should become like His Son, so that His Son would be the First, with many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen us, He called us to come to Him; and when we came, He declared us “not guilty,” filled us with Christ’s goodness, gave us right standing with Himself, and promised us His glory.” (GBB)
Part of what has inspired me to write this message is that my life these days is filled with people in these kind of situtions. From my own ten year old grandson and his uncle, to staff & friend’s babies born with all kinds of terrible handicaps, a deaf and mute lady friend, wheelchair limited people, on and on. And through these people I constantly see them glorify the Lord in their outlooks, responses, and how they help other people cope with their similar problems. This beginning scripture and plan the Lord has for them is being lived out before my eyes. I would like to hope and believe that I would respond like those I see around me.
God carefully chooses people to live out His plan through the hard stuff and trusts them to choose to respond in the way needed to execute what it takes to make everything come together. And, there is no limit to the number of people He actually involves completing His dream. That’s what is so amazing to me! It can spread across continents and the world. We see this play out in our Youth With A Mission (YWAM) work regularly.
You know, lately I have discovered new revelation on how much God loves us. The thing is however, we don’t have to do a doggone thing to impress Him to earn His love. That is so very difficult to get through our mind and head. The truth is that His love shows we cannot do anything to impress Him at our birth and our death. On either end we are completely powerless to do anything but BE. Yes, we are simply dependent on Him breath by breath. And yet God has clearly said in scripture that when we were made He created us in His own image and likeness which is the highest honor there is, period.
Then He proclaims in Psalms 116 verse 15: “Most Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (GBB) Think about that a few minutes. Here is the Creator of everything in the entire universe saying you and I are the MOST PRECIOUS to Him! Or say it this way: “His loved ones are very precious to Him, and He does not take it lightly when He lets them die.” After all, He sacrificed Himself, His Son Jesus for us and built a place for us to come home too and live forever with Him in all His glory.
Add that to trusting us in His plan to step up to the call and use our personal experience and pain to help lead others to deal with their similar circumstances and come to Him, and glorify Him …which throws it all in his and our enemy’s face!