I wanted to go back to last week’s post. Go back and read it if you did not get a chance. We talked about the most frequent command in the Bible, “fear not.”
When we look back on some things which made us afraid or caused us to fear, we now realize we no longer fear them. We even ask, “Why was I ever afraid of that?” Eternity will give us all plenty of time to look back and ask that question on a lot of things we go through now.
I struggled after posting last week’s blog that you may have gone away thinking all I was saying was that what you are going through now is “no big deal.”
Do not get me wrong. Being reminded of our perspective or often times our lack of perspective is a good thing. Even more than that, the big idea last week was that being with God is better than anything – the good or the bad. Last week’s post was more or less a call to look beyond our pain to God. This week’s post goes the other way. This week we are looking into our pain to draw us closer to God.
Many things we go through are “big deals”, and to say otherwise is to deny the pain, to betray our honest feelings and struggles.
Pain can be a way for us to draw closer to God. You are probably already in agreement. You get sick or a loved one gets sick and you find yourself talking to God more than ever. This is fine and good, but there is more.
Tullian Tchividjian has a powerful book, Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free based on his sermon series on the book of Job. Tchividjian says that “suffering does not rob you of joy.” Go ahead and read that again. Suffering does not rob me of joy? He goes on and says suffering does not rob you of joy, idols do.
Idols can be anything we have in our life that we find more important than God. Suffering can help bring this into painful focus. Suffering can shine a light on people and circumstances we trust more and love more than God. Some common idols we may not think of as idols include good health, our spouse, work, money and even our kids.
Idols deceive us making us think that joy and peace come from them. However, joy and peace come from God. Paul writes:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified self with its passions and its desires. (Galatians 5:22-24)
Joy and peace do not come from having perfect health. Joy and peace do not come from having kids who always do what you want them to do. Joy and peace do not come from having the perfect job. Joy and peace do not come from having the perfect spouse.
Joy and peace come from knowing that we were once lost and now we are found. Joy and peace come from knowing that the God of all creation loves us enough to die for us. Joy and peace come from knowing that God wants us to know Him and to be with Him. Joy and peace come from knowing that by God’s grace through the works of Jesus Christ we are transformed, made new, perfected.
Nothing can separate us from the joy and peace found in Jesus Christ.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)