OPIN­ION

Com­fort for the trou­bled soul

The Covington News - - Religion -

“Even though trou­bles came down on me hard, your com­mands al­ways gave me de­light. The way you tell me to live is al­ways right; help me un­der­stand it so I can live to the fullest “ (Psalm 119:143-144 MSG).

God’s word can a great com­fort to the trou­bled soul if we will let it.

As long as we live in this fallen world, we are go­ing to face dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions. Too many pro­fessed Chris­tians are se­cretly an­gry with God be­cause he has not re­sponded to them in a way they wanted him to re­spond or how they thought he should re­spond. They’ve prayed for some­thing, they’ve pleaded for some­thing and some have been sin­ful enough to try to force his hand by claim­ing the an­swer they wanted be­fore God an­swered. Prayer is not pri­mar­ily my bend­ing the Divine Will to do my bid­ding, but prayer, true prayer, is bend­ing my will to ful­fill the Divine bid­ding. Even Je­sus prayed, “nev­er­the­less, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39, NKJV). This is the sec­ond per­son of the Trin­ity. Even he was not so brazen as to pray, “My Fa­ther, thank you for tak­ing this cup from me.” Though it was ob­vi­ous that was his de­sire at that mo­ment in time.

We will face dif­fi­cult times, we will suf­fer, and even­tu­ally, if Je­sus doesn’t come in our life­time, we will die, that is the re­al­ity of liv­ing in this fallen world; it is the re­al­ity of the con­se­quences of sin. Most of us want to live any way we want and then have God come and kiss our wounds and make them all bet­ter, and if he doesn’t, we stew and be­come bit­ter. This has got to stop. We need to come to the place where we who say that our Heav­enly Fa­ther re­ally does know best need to start liv­ing with that con­fi­dence, even when he is not do­ing what we think he should do.

The truth is, we can­not com­pre­hend all God does. The Bi­ble re­minds us, “‘My thoughts are noth­ing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far be­yond any­thing you could imag­ine. For just as the heav­ens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts’” (Isa­iah 55:8-9, NLT). There are many things I do not un­der­stand in this life. Tragedies I can­not com­pre­hend, but I am ab­so­lutely con­fi­dent that God can be trusted. Why? He proved his love for me by send­ing his son who who came to this earth by the way as a will­ing sac­ri­fice for sin. God did this de­spite the fact that he knew I de­spised him, de­spite the fact that he knew I didn’t want his in­volve­ment in my life, de­spite the fact that he knew that I would con­stantly fail him (some­times in­ad­ver­tently but mostly pur­pose­fully), and even though he knew all this, he still loved me, died for me, and rose for me so that I could live. That is why I am ab­so­lutely con­fi­dent this God can be trusted even if he doesn’t do what I want him to do; even if I can­not un­der­stand what he is do­ing. I like the way The Mes­sage Trans­la­tion puts Ro­mans 8:32, “If God didn’t hes­i­tate to put ev­ery­thing on the line for us, em­brac­ing our con­di­tion and ex­pos­ing him­self to the worst by send­ing his own Son, is there any­thing else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?” (Ro­mans 8:32, The Mes­sage). That God can be trusted.

Lest you are prone to think, “Well, why would I trust a God who would sac­ri­fice his own son?” Let me re­mind you that Je­sus’ sac­ri­fice was not an un­will­ing one. Yes, in that fi­nal hour he pleaded with the Fa­ther for an­other way, but he also will­ingly sub­mit­ted to what he un­der­stood to be the only way of re­demp­tion — the penalty had to be paid so the righ­teous judge could re­main just. The amaz­ing thing to me in all of this is the fact that God didn’t need to cre­ate us in the first place. He is, by na­ture, self-suf­fi­cient which means he needs noth­ing from any­one. He didn’t have to cre­ate us to find his own ful­fill­ment; get that silly no­tion out of your head.

Why then did he cre­ate us when he knew what we were go­ing to do and what it was go­ing to cost? The only an­swer I can give is his love. If that is what he is like, I know I can trust him even in the dif­fi­cult mo­ments of my life. The psalmist hits the nail on the head: even when I face strug­gles I can­not un­der­stand or fathom, the truth of God’s prom­ises can give me the grace I need to go through them and the com­fort I need as I am go­ing through the val­leys of life.

John Pear­rell

Colum­nist

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