Wednesday, January 21, 2015
John 16:16-33 He has all we need
This week we are continuing our study of Jesus' teaching to His disciples in the "upper room." We ended last time on this thought: the ABC's of spiritual growth .....those letters could stand for Adversity Builds Character.
I'm sure that we have all had our shares of problems in our lives. Would we really want to change anything? Our natural self would say, "Oh, yes, please!" but our Christian self, the self that is struggling to grow more like Christ, realizes that even the mistakes, the pain, and the suffering have made us the people we are today. I guess one of the biggest lessons we learn is to pray that we will learn something from the pain we face. To be able to grow more like our Savior.
This is a thorny kind of a discussion, especially for those not trained in theology (like me) but we can try to apply what the Spirit has taught us, in order to understand this. Does God actually cause pain? Does He cause grief? I think that there may be times like in the Bible (Jonah and Job come to mind) when God causes or allows pain directly. But I think perhaps there are more times that God lets us face the pain and the consequences that we have created for ourselves. "Deliver us from evil" is how He taught us to pray . . . Our own temptations can cause us pain. And I am not just talking about the pain we feel from eating that leftover pizza or those rich brownies at 2am.
Seriously, we can hope that we learn from our mistakes and the pain that God thinks (his ways are far above ours, remember?) that we need.
And when we need help in that pain, He has all we need. All the comfort. All the peace. All the joy.
Jesus explains that we will have trouble in this world, but then He tells us, "take heart." In the King James it is translated "be of good cheer." That's a tall order, isn't it? Yes, it is, if we are not relying on Him! We often think of things in terms of happiness, though, when we should be thinking of joy. God offers us joy. Happiness is temporary -- we can find happiness in a hamburger and fries, or an awesome milkshake. We can find happiness when our team wins the ball game. Or when we look down and find a five dollar bill lying on the sidewalk. Happiness is short term.
Joy, however, is long-lasting. It's eternal. Joy is hearing our baby say "mommy" for the first time. Joy is watching the children God loans to us, as they grow up and mature into good, Christian citizens. And the ultimate joy is knowing Jesus as our personal savior; the ultimate in joyfulness is having a best friend that will always be there, and always offer us hope and unconditional love. Joy can help us weather the toughest storms, and make us certain that in spite of all of our pain, Jesus is with us.
When the happiness wears off, and the storm rages, but the smile is still on our face, then we know that we have the joy that only He can give. We know that He has all we really need.
How can we "take heart" in the midst of the storm? Jesus says, "I have overcome the world."
All that we need, He has. At the very end, we need victory. When our world trembles, and we tremble, too, remember that the Rock doesn't tremble. Our Rock will not move. He is the Rock of our salvation, and He will stand strong. On the terrible, wonderful day that Jesus hung on the cross, God gave us everything we need -- He gave us a Savior, His one and only Son. And on that day, Jesus won the victory and then gave the victory to us.
So, when we feel like the world is falling out from under us, and the walls are falling in, and everyone is out to get us, it does not matter. If Jesus is our master, we can say with all the confidence that Jesus said it, "I have overcome the world." Nothing can stop us now. Whatever we need, God has.
But we have to trust Him. We must believe that it is true. That's the kicker. And we'll talk about that next time.