Wednesday, June 22, 2022
This is Too Much!
This is Too Much!
by David Brenneman
In this last week we have seen some extremely harsh weather hit this part of Ohio that did a great deal of damage. The level of damage depended upon where you lived. In weatherman's terms it was called a macroburst. 24 miles long 15 miles wide. Essentially an F1 Tornado that was straight line winds. Hundreds of power poles were out. The damage was so severe, people are still without power as of this morning. Some, whom I know, got caught up in the magnitude of the rebuilding efforts and their street wasn't on the list of people who had no power until they complained. What does this have to do with God or God's Word? Read on.
Psalm 121:7-8 NASB "The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever."
In hearing the stories of people who lived through outages last week whom I work with, you can see who are those who put their faith and trust in Christ Jesus and who do not. Faith is very evident during trials and tribulations. It's incredibly easy to speak on and of Spiritual matters when life is going well. The tires can't do a burnout if they don't find the asphalt. There's no stretching or growth without the things that I often refer to as "Spiritual Surgeries".
Take a moment to watch a few videos of sculpting. Find those that take days and weeks which are condensed for your viewing experience. Quite often sections are sacrificed or temporarily removed and replaced in order to get a particular result.
We often are going through anxious times and anxious thoughts because of the uncertainty and unknown parts of the lives we face. We want to trust God and yet that fear tries to claim us.
I have often recommended people read a book called "90 Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey. Essentially put this is a true story of a Pastor who went through a horrible accident and his journey back to health. At the very beginning he details what can only be described as his arrival to the gates of Heaven. As he was about to enter he was brought back to his body. The things he saw were of family and friends welcoming him. Why did he return? Plainly put God wasn't done with him yet. People on Earth were praying for him at the scene of the accident. Jesus was still with him at the scene of the accident. You'll have to read it to know what that really means. Suffice to say his recovery took his soul places he thought he could never go through. At one point he was even trying to curse God and die. But God wasn't done with him yet. It wasn't until he was "back to normal" that his ministry began to be realized. He now could reach some formerly unreachable people for Christ.
We indeed will face things in our lives that make absolutely no sense. Why me? We ask. God's response to us is the same as it was to Paul. "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness".
More often than not I have felt like life took me through the proverbial wringer. That storm that I spoke of driving through to get back to my Wife at the end of last year. Going through the accident that laid me up for weeks as my broken arm healed. Still others too numerous to count. Why?!? I often wanted to know. The answer was still the same even if I hadn't learned exactly what it meant yet. "My grace is sufficient, for My power is perfected in weakness."
Life often takes us places we certainly would rather no go or go through. We often forget the enormity of what is really GOING to happen in the life of a Believer in Christ Jesus.
We are quite often called upon to go through something because someone else isn't strong enough to handle it. We are often called upon because we are not understanding what "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them" really means. We are taught things in life through our troubles in order to also prepare us for what's to come. We so easily forget that part of what coming to Christ is about is NOT leaving us as we were found by Jesus. Romans 12 speaks toward a life transformed. We read in Ephesians 2:10 of being His workmanship. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 where it says we were bought with a price, we are not our own. James 1:2-4 NASB "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.".
We aren't in this world for our personal enjoyment or gratification. We are on assignment. We are on the job. We are called and commissioned. Colossians 3:23-24. What we do, how we do, what we go through are all to be done as unto the Lord Jesus Christ whom we serve.
Life's likely going to have more in it that doesn't make sense than it ever will have that does make sense.
It isn't difficult to cry out to God asking "Why?!?". The truth is you may not get an answer in this life, but you will later after you face Jesus. Even the Disciples were told things that they were told upfront that after Jesus was crucified and arose from the dead, after the received the Holy Spirit, only then would they understand.
In our lives we often don't think outside of our own box. I indeed have an Engineers mindset, but I do not have their limitations. To go to school for anything you learn to think inside of that particular box of learning. I don't think inside a box because God removed it. People often don't look for God in things because of the box they are in. It doesn't fit their preconceived idea for how God works. God works through the prayers of His people. If the response from God is unique and off the wall, run with it. Just because it's not religious sounding enough, if God's behind it, there's no way it will fail. Even if it doesn't fit our ideas of worship or of drawing people to Jesus Christ. If even 1 person of several hundred comes to Christ for salvation then consider this: God's mission was accomplished. End of story. Cost means nothing to Christ. He will spare no expense to reach whomever it is possible to save. Even if it means uniting what His people go through to grow in Christ Jesus with pain and suffering in order to bring them to a new life in Christ Jesus.
We often don't see the great result of our growth in Jesus. We as yet cannot see our end from our beginning, but Jesus can and does.
We may not understand why we go through the things we do, or worse, think we do understand and God laughs because we aren't even close.
So you need to realize that what we go through in life is a multi-fold thing. God does what He does for AT LEAST the following:
* bring people to Christ for salvation
* bring those He has saved to a transformed life in Christ
* to remove things from our lives that won't help the first two things
* to fulfill His written Word
Notice that list doesn't include our every wish or desire. Doesn't include a life of wealth, health, and prosperity as a promised part of the deal. We are promised many things in Christ Jesus but those aren't among them. For everyone who seeks to find their lives must first lose it in order to find it. What does it profit a man to gain the world and yet forfeit his soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Life's going to likely hurt along the way. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5 to rejoice in EVERYTHING. Not just what we think is the good stuff. That Pastor learned how to rejoice in his years of recovery and physical rehabilitation. Then God opened doors for him alone to reach the unreachable for Christ Jesus. You too mighty be going through things that make absolutely no sense. Yet consider it well that it is and is not all about you. Jesus is wanting us to continue to do the Father’s business until we are called home to Heaven or He returns. Jesus didn't say in the story of the 99 that He would only go so far. He went out in search of that 1 and did whatever He had to do to reach them.
Pray for your understanding of this because you can cause yourself a great deal of anxiety because of it. Trust God and keep moving forward. Even if it's not making any sense. Trust and Obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.