February 4 (John 16:33)
Sickness, heartbreak, and loss, to say nothing of fear, worry, and stress, are all a part of life. This is true for the Christian and non-Christian alike. Our suffering may be the direct result of spiritual attack, or it may be the consequence of our being alive. And when we suffer, whether in large or small ways, we have but one desire, that the suffering end.
Here is where our faith runs smack into reality. We want the suffering to end. Period. God says He loves us, we want our pain to end, and sometimes it does. But sometimes it does not, and then we typically respond in one of two ways. Some revert to their human reasoning, conclude God does not actually love them, and abandon their faith entirely. Others try to reason spiritually, chalk it all up to an attack of the enemy, and vow to tough it out as a good, Christian warrior would.
Yet neither of these is the approach Jesus gives us. He starts out by saying that all of His teaching is so that we may have peace in Him. So get that straight first of all. He wants you to have peace. Then He acknowledges the truth of the matter. We all have times of suffering. But at that point you can just see Him smile as He looks you straight in the eye, a hand on your shoulder, and says, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” He is telling you to look to Him, to keep your eyes focused on Him and the truth of His resurrected and glorious self. Will your suffering end tomorrow? Will it work out the way you hope? Maybe, maybe not, but Jesus does not want you distracted by those questions any more than He wants you distracted by greed or temptation. He wants you to take heart, to find your heart, to live out of your heart that has been transformed by Him.
Jesus, I need You to heal my blindness, for even though I read Your words, I still approach my problems in just about every way but what You would have me do. Help me to see only You and your magnificent, loving grace, no matter what faces me. May my gaze pierce through the dark mass of my problems as if they were as invisible as air that my eyes may filled with You. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 by Steven R. Perkins