January 21, 2018 laurelglenbible

The story of the Israelites is the most amazing history we have of a people group. God chose Abraham out of all people and made his offspring into a nation. Everything that happens afterward is a struggle. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph – they all struggled and suffered failures. Moses brings the people out of Egypt only for them to fail time and again. Finally, they are in the land that was promised and still find ways to disobey God and suffer the severe consequences. Yet – they persisted.

In 1948, the unthinkable happened. Israel became a nation again as a fulfillment to prophecy. If we can give the Israelites any positive description, it would be this: they were resilient.

The story of Israel is the story of the remnant. From out of the masses of idolaters and insubordinate, the faithful few survived the darkest times by holding fast to the light of the truth of God’s promises.

In the New Testament, we see a similar resilience from Paul and the people he led to Christ. Paul was shipwrecked, beaten, snake bitten, flogged, and put in prison. Yet, Paul still writes in his Epistles that, even though he has nothing, he possesses everything (2 Cor. 6:10). Paul tells us that he has learned to be content in all situations.

What enabled Paul to be resilient in the face of such adversity? It was that same light – the torch of truth passed down from generation to generation kept by the beleaguered remnant, the chosen few, the resilient.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalms 119:105

That “light” is the Gospel. It is the good news of God’s plan for the redemption and salvation of His people from creation. God’s Word is light because it allows us to see the world, life, and everything how it actually is and not just how it appears to be. It drives back the darkness which is ignorance. It kindles within us hope because we know the truth!

We know who God is. We know what His plans for us are. We know that there is eternity just on the other side of life in this world and a glorious assurance of inheriting a kingdom that is far greater than anything we can imagine and so incredibly contrastive to what we actually deserve.

It is not wrong to be sad or feel overwhelmed by the difficulties of life. However, it is not okay to stay that way. We have ample to reason to be resilient as Christians because no matter how bad life gets, nothing takes away the truth that we are Children of God. As Children of God, we know that we have every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3), we have a home in heaven with Jesus (Phil. 3:20), God works all things for our good (Rom. 8:28), He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). These truths always call us to hope in the midst of tragedy.

As Christians, we are to bend but not ultimately break. Our ability to be resilient shows that God is bigger than our circumstances. Resilience shows people that there is meaning in the suffering, and it is our testimony to the world around us. God is always with us, his spirit lives inside of us and we have the gift of the church to walk with us through the craziness of life.

“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Finally, we need to be imitators of Christ. How did Jesus approach the cross? With flippant enthusiasm? No. He approached the cross with a somber humility but with his eyes fixed on the joy set before him. Therefore, let us not be ignorant, we will have troubles in this life. In the worlds of Paul, let us then suffer “as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:3) with our eyes firmly fixed on the glory set before us being faithful to our calling and thereby increase the testimony of God’s goodness and grace through suffering.

 

-Pastor Eric Burns and Pastoral Intern Nathan