Interesting time we are living in. For us and many we know just in our city, the economy challenges have forced reevaluation of all we do and how we do it. Though difficult and even painful it does help bring eternity in better focus for sure. We are here for a short while, this isn’t our home, and there’s always a bigger picture than our own present circumstances and reality. God’s plan and timeline are vastly above and beyond our finite understanding and focus.
For our friends dealing with cancer, unsure of what’s next-we can only imagine what perspective they have. For marriages void of any hope and struggling for breath-though I’ve been there and know the pain-my words won’t alleviate the need for a real miracle of heart, and that’s what it takes. For kids we know across the world that pray to have food today-most have no idea what hunger and poverty feel like.
We listened to our old Pastor recently who brought front and forward a powerful reminder that the time we’re in is unlike ever before in history. Words foretold in the Bible are happening more and more rapidly, coming true though it’s taken many years. The truth is still that God will return for His People, those whose names are written in the Lambs book of life. And there are things He said would happen before then to clue us in and keep us on the ready-looking for His return.
My struggles blind me more than I care to admit from the bigger picture. Life isn’t about happiness and peace all the time. Though I’ve lived the life of faith for years it’s still a fight to trust that my needs are really in His hands. Though I’ve lived the marriage miracle we still have to fend off issues and communicate through the mire. In my spirit-my innermost being, I know and believe wholeheartedly in the power of God; to provide, heal, save, set free. But like Paul, I still do the very things I know better than to do. It’s a human struggle and condition and it’s called sin!
I remembered the words and tune to REM’s hit “Losing My Religion” just the other day. “Here I am in the spotlight, losing my religion.” That’s all I remember so I don’t truly know what they were trying to say, but when I heard it the first time around years ago I was offended by just that one line and assumed it meant disavowing their belief in God. In my young religious mind I reasoned they were back sliders and passed some critical judgement I’m sure their way. One thing I’ve learned the hard way is (you don’t know till you know) and it applies to life period.
Here’s what I think now. In reality we all need to lose some of our religion, especially if it’s contrary to the religion Jesus lived out instead of preached. What he did say using words even still is not what we always want to hear or do. So when I think of the time we’re living in and get past my own crap on a daily basis here’s what I believe and see clearly. My trials and struggles are tests, I have the option to succeed or fail. The outcome isn’t what it’s about as much as the process and journey and how I navigate them with The Lord. My faith can’t be conditional and contingent upon my preferred or expected outcome, beyond the assurance that I can expect God to do as only He can and wills to do in every circumstance! It’s my faith and trust He desires.
One part of the big picture is, we shouldn’t be so offended at how others carry out their religion and lives. You could even argue what business is that of ours anyway? A Christians responsibility is not to judge but love! One at a time we make the difference and all along the way we’ll have trials and tribulations. That’s what we signed on for and Jesus Himself promised, but also to be with us till the end of the age-which is coming sooner that we think.
My prayer is to be driven by a courage not fear, faith not sight, and love not criticism! This generation needs hope more than religion, no religion saves souls-only Jesus. May it be His hope and love they see in all who call ourselves Christians. And may our perspective go beyond present reality and circumstance to include His view of humanity and need to see His light is our lives every single day.
(Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”)