Sunday, February 1, 2009
As a Christian Bees Won't Sting and Colds Won't Catch
I have heard just such nonsense preached. I have heard people told they were suffering because their faith was weak. Who has suffered more than Christ? Was his faith weak?
When you become a Christian the Son shines in you, but the sun shines on you and the rain falls upon you just as it does on the worse terrorists that stalk the earth. You are just as likely to get your face sunburned and your feet wet as they are. You don't escape earthly suffering by being born again anymore than the criminal who professes sudden Christianity receives a get-out-of-jail-free card. But Christians do receive a get-out-of-Hell card.
If you think Christianity is a hedge against the slings and arrows of this world, then you haven't read your Bible. (You miss a lot of truth if you don't read the Bible.) Read the stories of all the great names of the Bible, then tell me all those who didn't suffer?
Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:10-11
In 1975, when I became a Christian, we had lost 7 children in 14 years of marriage. In late 1977 when my wife became pregnant for the eigthth time it came as a surprise to me. She had claimed her tubes were tied after the last time. She lied.
This wasn't the biggest shock. It was when her obstetrician refused to take her case and others we consulted would not either. No one wanted this case with her history. They told her it was impossible, she could nevert have a baby. But someone in the church knew a Christian Doctor and he took the case and the church prayed.
But we'll discuss those details another time. Just let me say our first child to live beyond a brief few moments was born on March 1, 1978. We have two other children and I'll discuss those circumstances another time as well. All I want to illustrate here is in the face of an impossibility the improbable happened.
And we all lived happily ever after in the enchanted forest of the Spirit where the bees won't sting and you don't catch colds.
By mid-1978 the company employing me decided to close shop and move to Chicago. I was asked to go, but did not want to move so far. In November 1978 I was proffered a new job elsewhere, which I took and it was not to be a happy choice. With it we had to move from where we were and the church that had prayed and helped us so much. And then not two years later, this new employer decided to give my job to someone else for reasons having nothing to do with my own success or failure. This was quickly followed by a series of difficult events.
We had our second child, who was not expected to live, but did so after nearly a month in intensive care. My father-in-law had a seizure, died, was brought back to life, but left only a shell on machines, which it fell to us to turn off. Our home flooded and was totally destroyed inside.
Being Christians did not protect us from the type of loss and sufferings that befall all members of mankind. We are talking about faith, a belief in Christ as Savior and a striving to understand and grown in a relationship with God, not in magic. Such tribulations can bring a person to despair, as had been the case a few years earlier. We came to salvation from the depths of depression and hopelessness and our burdens were lightened. So it was when this series of setbacks hit us. If we had not come to this faith, I am not certain we would have survived what we went through between 1975 and 1981.
In an earlier posts I asked if you could reconcile these two verses:
Matt 11:29-30-- Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matt 16:24-25 -- Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Comparing the difficult experiences of my life before and after being a Christian have taught me what these verses mean.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:1