March 4, 2006
Have you ever noticed that when trouble comes into your life, it seems to
come in wave after wave before you finally see a break in the storm?
Personal crises seem to take on the same characteristic as the birth pangs
on the planet heralding the soon return of the Lord. It’s just that the
private birth pangs are on a much smaller scale. I think I’m going
through one of those times right now.
In one week’s time just about every area of my life has been shaken. Two of my sisters have had ominous reports from their doctors; I am having symptoms in my own body that all is not right; my household has come down with the flu; someone I love spoke hurtful things to me; emails blasting me for an article I’ve written calling me every name in the book increased in intensity; a call from one of my children’s school of great concern came in; and all my inadequacies as a wife, mother, employee, minister, researcher, writer, American, and a Christian have been thrown in my face.
And while all of this was going on, opportunities to defend the faith at the university where I work came up as well. In my weakened state, I found myself the only Christian voice at a conference on academic freedom. The target: Intelligent Design. The Lord enabled me to convince some that Creationists also deserve academic freedom and that the Bible never condemned the findings of Galileo, as there were many attendees that put all Christians in the same box as the papal inquisitors.
These times always lead me back to the love of Christ. "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
On the flip side of God’s promises are ones such as this: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
So when tribulation comes it shouldn’t surprise us, it should drive us to our Lord. When troubled times come – and they come to all saved or not – I find myself thinking about how those who do not know Jesus get through these times. What do they rely on? Positive thinking? Comedy films? Healthy affirmations? They have no bridge over these troubled waters.
Yet believers can and will testify that the Holy Spirit comes through for us and empowers us to get over the Bridge with a capital "B" – our faith in Jesus. We have His assurance that He will never leave us nor forsake us and we can take that to the hospital or to the grave. We know that He decides when our time is up and we can rely upon that as well. That is our "blessed assurance." And that assurance gets us over the troubled waters and back onto solid ground.
Franny Crosby put it well:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
This is my story, this is my song,
We praise you, Lord, for your love for us, that you laid down your life for us that we may live with you forever in eternity. Help us to show that same love to your hurting people. Forgive us for falling short of that servanthood that you modeled for us. Wash our feet that we may be clean again. Take away the defilement of this world from our lives and restore us to our first love so that our candlestick will not be removed. We give you all the praise and glory due Your name. Cleanse us and we will be clean. Thank you for your mercy and kindness to us sinners. Your lovingkindness endures forever! Accept our sacrifice of praise this day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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