Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday's Faith - Spiritual Train-Wreck, part four

Friday's Faith

Spiritual Train-Wreck, part four

Putting Faith's Foundation Back Together

________________| Learn to be content whatever the circumstances |__________|_____ Do nothing out of selfish ambition_____|___ Obedience________|_The work of the gospel|I consider everything a loss compared to knowing Christ Jesus |___ Put no confidence in the flesh ___ |___Poured out like a drink offering_|_ ____ |HIS good purpose _______|_ Sacrifice ___|____ Humility ____|_____________|Become obedient to death—even death on a cross__|___ Suffering_______|__|____ Service ___| Attitude same as Christ Jesus who made Himself nothing__| Do nothing out of vain conceit___|____ Being one in spirit and purpose|______|_____| Take up your cross|___________|__ Taking the very nature of a servant_||Don’t keep your mind on earthly things for your citizenship is in Heaven __|_____|_ Do not consider equality with God something to be grasped|­­­__|___________|Become like Him in His death and so somehow to attain to the resurrection of the dead|__||___ Being sure of what we hope for— certain of what we do not see…___|_______ |__Look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others|__ _|____ Struggle __|__ Want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection_|____|_ Knowledge __|___ Compassion ___|__ Fellowship of sharing in His sufferings|___ Comfort ___|__ Insight_____|____ Meekness­­­­_____|__ Discernment __|____|____ Tenderness______|_______ Peace_____|_____ Grace ­­­­______|__ __________ Forgiveness_______|_________ Patience_________|___ Joy__| _|____ Trust ________|____ Love ________| _________ Faith_______|_ |______________ Prayer ___________________|__|­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______Belief________||____Hope____|

In pouring over scripture for all these months and now even years, I am appalled at the "cheap grace" that I had unwittingly allowed myself to fall for. Yes, I had no problem with the base of my faith's foundation: Trust, Love, Faith, Prayer, Belief, Hope. Those are comforting concepts for my heart to bask in.

But what has jumped out at me between the lines of my self-deception are the very clear scriptures that delineate what will be the life of ours while we are here on this earth. Whether we are living a life of sin or a life of righteousness (in Christ), we still have to deal with the presence of sin on this earth, and the curse of death that has fallen on mankind through Adam's original sin.

I will have to watch loved ones die, some suddenly, violently. Others, I will have to watch decay right before my eyes. I HATE IT! These are people I love and cherish, and I want none of Satan's harm to fall on them. Why, O why, O Lord, do we have to watch evil seemingly prevail in the lives of those we love, and indeed, in the lives of those You love?!

But God has reminded me, sin is here; the prince of darkness reigns over this earth, and I will have to contend with his devastations. If God's own precious Son had to contend with Satan's evil, did I think I would be excused or exempt from the curse? Did I think I would be privileged to bask in God's love and not see much evil in this world, even evil plaguing those I love? I had my head in the sand. I was living in "la-la-land" with my "perfect little family."

So now, as I read scripture, the words jump out at me. The curse of evil is here on this earth. God will not remove this curse totally until Christ returns to bring everything under His authority. Yes, God is omnipotent --all-powerful. Yes, God is omniscient --all-knowing. He is not blinded to any of Satan's shenanigans. And God is omnipresent --everywhere at all times. He was not looking the other way when my child was killed. He saw what Satan was up to, and He allowed it. And yet, He was there to scoop my child up off the hard ground, and into His soft loving arms that night.

God is love. There is nothing HE ever does to us that is not ALL-LOVING. But He allows evil for a time. I don't know why. I know He wants to allow time for more of His created ones to turn to Him for their eternal hope and well-being, to be washed in His Son's blood, to be restored to fellowship with their Creator. And He didn't make us robots, so He gave us a free will. Not all were blessed to be in a loving, Christian home like I was where I heard about God from the day I was born. But He longs to give all of His created ones the chance to hear about Him and His love for them. So He waits.

While He waits, we continue to see suffering and evil of all kinds. But He waits in love for those who will some day respond to His outstretched arms just like I did when I was seven years old, just like Merry Katherine did when she was six years old.

So, though I hate it, that I have to watch loved ones suffer and even die or be killed, I must also trust that God's world is much bigger than mine, and His plans are much higher than mine. And even when we suffer, He promises we will be blessed ultimately many times over in His presence. I must remember earth is not heaven--this earth is not my home. Heaven is where I belong. I cannot SEE it, but I am called to BELIEVE without seeing. There would be no need for FAITH if I could easily see God's ways.

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