Thank you for your desire to pray with us each Wednesday. Rachel and I appreciate your fellowship and support.
I am thankful for my sons who often send me a sermon or podcast they have listened to that has impacted them. Recently, James shared a message by Mark Clark. His main thesis was that things are not as they appear. He highlighted two opposing theologies. The first he called the theology of jumping and the second, the theology of groaning. Let me explain.
The theology of jumping came from a man who was speaking to a large group of Christian leaders and he presented them with a choice of messages. First was an exciting, energetic, illustrative, pumped up, happy sort of message — the jump up and down kind. The second was a Biblical exegesis of a certain passage. The first was cheered loudly and the second was booed. How sad! As he got into his first message, he got the men to get out of their seats and start jumping. They were illustrating that life was all about them and their happiness; they were to forget, to deny, to suppress their troubles and problems, and to focus on their feelings, to pretend that everything about life was great. This is a very self-focused and shortsighted perspective.
The theology of groaning is a reminder that life is difficult. It is the reality that God very often brings us into dark valleys and intense suffering to accomplish His purpose. The experience of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane is proof of that. He lay facedown on the ground and cried, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done” (Lk.26:42). How could He pray like this? How could He get up from the garden and intentionally move toward suffering and pain? It comes down to perspective. While suffering was not easy or desirable, He knew the character of His loving, tender Father. He knew the eternal purpose of God and the necessity of the cross.
We have a lot of friends that are suffering deeply. And similar questions arise: How can children go on who have lost their mother? Or, how can a husband continue without his life’s companion? How can a husband deal with the intense suffering of his wife and bear up in the daily agony of her cancer? How can a man deal with intense trigeminal nerve pain that hits unexpectedly and renders him unable to function? The answer to these questions is found in what they know about God from His Word. God is their source of comfort. They know that God loves them and cares for them. They know that God is seeking to have a closer walk with them. They know that God is molding them into the image of Jesus. They know that what they are going through is linked to the glory of Christ and the great future He has planned for them. The apostle Paul reminds us,
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Cor. 4:16-18
Remember, things are not as they appear. Don’t trust your feelings, or your present circumstances, or what is visible to your eyes. You may feel disappointment, or discouragement, or anger, or any other emotion, but you don’t trust in them. You experience them, you accept them, and you bring them to God, but you don’t live your life from that perspective. You trust in what you know, and that can only be based on what God says. This is a perspective that allows us to continue and not lose heart.
Trust Him. He will never fail you!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel
Photo Credit: Benjamin Joyce