“God didn’t save us for a life without pain,
He saved us from a life without meaning!”
In our desperation we reach out to Jesus and usually the problem that confronts us eases and we are able to continue on our journey again. We expect that all future problems will be eased but they aren't, the easing was temporary and soon the crisis of our life resumes. We cry: Where are You now, God? Some fall away, forgetting that they have already received one miracle but they expected a succession of miracles. Now we are Christians, they reason, shouldn't our paths be easy, our burdens light?
No, that is not the path to faith. It requires no faith if we are not challenged, if we are not tested and strengthened by those tests. Anybody can simply accept presents from God but it requires no faith to receive, only an attitude of gluttony. God hasn't promised us an Eden upon this Earth, but He does offer us many wonderful things if we can grow and overcome the barriers against our faith.
How do we grow in the Lord if we are not tested and, in that testing, strengthened?
I see this like a mountain of broken glass a mountain that will be hard to overcome and one that will cause us pain and hardship as we transverse it. Of course, we could always walk around the base of this mountain and continue our journey, but we gain little in the process. However, if we clamber over this mountain of broken glass we will find that, nestled on the other side, riches beyond our imagination. How do we grow in the Lord if we are not tested and, in that testing, strengthened? Our faith starts off weak and requires strenuous exercise to develop.
If we walk around the base of this mountain of faith we miss the treasures that God has for us on this Earth but, if we tackle the hard road, we are rewarded beyond belief. These rewards are not always in gold or silver but can be other things like the ability to be able to handle death (specially that of a loved one), or through a peace in our hearts that passes all understanding.
In this world of instant gratification we expect to be able to put the money on the counter and walk out with the goods. God is not an instant gratification God but one who works slowly to prepare the dough used in the bread of life, to allow it to rise without hurrying, to cook it long and slow so that the finished product is like God Himself perfect! This takes time and patience. He is not a microwave God but a slow cooker God. Things move at His pace, slowly and with purpose.
Strengthen your faith and strive to overcome the greatest obstacles in your life. As you strive, you are strengthened in many ways and your rewards that much more valuable.
Continued in Part 2 which looks at what Jesus said that we must do and how we should behave.
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In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade kept in heaven for you. 1Peter 1:3b-4 NIV
© Graham Pockett
Last Updated: Friday, October 05, 2018