Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Promise On The Other Side

**Sorry I haven’t been around to blog much. I know I haven’t blogged several of the church sermons (and I don’t think I’ll get caught up). If you’d like, can always listen to the ones you missed at www.missionoflife.com**

Last Sunday, Craig preached about being “hard-pressed” in our faith. He asked: “What do you do when you’re a Christian and life’s a mess?“ He started off by talking about the testimony of C.S. Lewis. I’m sure many of you know who he is. He is the author of “The Chronicles of Narnia” books as well as many other renowned books like “The Screwtape Letters“ and “Mere Christianity.” (If you want to read more about C.S. Lewis, you can look him up on www.wikipedia.com where they have all the details). Though, for the sake of this blog, I will just tell you a little bit about him: 

C.S. Lewis was raised in church, but turned his back on his faith and became an atheist when he was fifteen. He later returned to his faith in his thirties. I remember watching a documentary about him in the bonus features of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe”. I remember how they said that he had ideas for Narnia before he was saved, but that it didn’t come to life until after he had dedicated his life to Christ - as if God had unlocked his mind. I just LOVE that because there are just so many things we DON’T know or can’t accomplish until we are totally opened and surrendered to God. THEN, he unlocks our mind and shows us all that we’re missing and all that He wants to accomplish in us and through us!! That’s exactly what He did with C.S. Lewis! 

C.S. Lewis eventually fell in love and married a woman named Joy later in life. She had cancer, and he hoped and prayed that she would recover. After being in remission for a while, the cancer came back and she died. It was devastating for him. 

Craig said that C.S. Lewis was able to get through his pain through realizing how much pain God’s own Son had gone through. Jesus wasn’t spared hardship and pain, even though He’s the one and only perfect man to ever walk the earth and the Savior of mankind. We live in a fallen world full of sin, so bad things are bound to happen to everyone.

The question we all have, though, is “why?”  It’s a question with no easy answers - and sometimes no real answers at all. We may never know the “whys” behind everything, but Craig pointed out the scripture form John 9:1-3 in which the disciples asked Jesus whose fault it was that a man was born blind. Jesus said that it was neither the man’s, nor the parents’, fault that he was blind but that the power of God could be displayed in Him. This is the same scripture that has always personally touched me because my son was born hearing impaired. I had the same thoughts of “fault” at first. Craig says that we do that because we are too “past and causal.” We are so focused on the past and what mistakes and bad things have occurred to “cause” what happened that we miss out on the fact that God is going to shine through the circumstance. It’s ok to wonder and ask “why”, but if we remain stuck in those “whys” we will never move forward. That is why I resolved to move on quickly once I found out that Casey had hearing loss. We prayed that maybe it was a temporary thing and that God would heal him and make it alright, but when that didn’t happen, we let go and moved on. The verse that was on my mind at the time was Job’s response to his wife’s urging to “curse God and die” (that phrase sums up Satan’s ultimate goal for all of us doesn’t it?!) Job told her: “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" Faith is a piece of cake when everything is good isn’t it? But, the minute anything goes wrong, is God suddenly not good anymore? No, of course not! James 1:2-4 says: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Any hardships we go through tests our faith and builds our character. Does anyone develop a mature faith without experiencing tests? Does a doctor become an expert without demonstrating  and perfecting his knowledge and skills with each medical crisis he is faced with? How does one learn without being tested and disciplined? God disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:12). 

I know that no matter what, God is going to do mighty and wonderful things through my child! He has chosen him to be a shining example of His power and glory; whether that‘s ministering to others as he is or whether God chooses to miraculously heal him for all to see and believe in!! In my son’s life so far, he has been a blessing to everyone that knows him! He’s the sweetest most compassionate child you would ever meet and melts the hearts of those around him. What God has allowed to happen in Casey’s life is all for His  glory and the purpose to which my son is called (Romans 8:28). 

We all go through pain and struggles. It’s hard, and sometimes there’s no good reason or explanation. Sometimes, we go through times like Job did. Like Job, and like my son Casey, things will work out for good (Romans 8:28). There is a promise on the other side of our suffering if we will walk through it and persevere. And, we are not alone! There are those that have gone through the same things and know our pain. We have friends to walk through our struggles with us (and of course, we have Jesus). Whatever hardship you are going through, you’ll make it!! If you need someone to “make it” with, let me know!! I’ll walk through it with you as best I can!! 

God bless all of you!! May His grace and peace be with you today, tomorrow, and always!! 

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