Monday, August 3, 2015
My first thought was "she's an idiot." I know, not a good Christian response, but she is. And then I thought of her family. How could anyone deliberately leave their spouse and kids to go on a harebrained trip to another planet? It sounds like she is more committed to a wild idea than to her marriage vows. Maybe we need to add an exception to that for better and worse.... "unless I decide to go to another planet, then the marriage is over."
A lady at work was talking to me last week about how discouraged her grandson is. The kid is in his 20's and just in the last few months he was in Intensive Care because his pancreas was shutting down due to diabetes he didn't know he had. He survived, but has to give himself several shots a day. Then he lost his job because his employer got rid of everyone and brought in new people. Then he totaled his car. He is a Christian, but has really been doubting God and asking why wicked people seem to have no problems, yet he is a Christian and has had a rough time of it. My co-worker is also discouraged because of his recent bad developments. I tried to say some things to help her and hopefully him, but I have been thinking about our conversation and about being truly committed to serving God.
There was a popular country song several years ago that said "I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden." That was written by a human, but that could be something God said. He loves us enough to send His only Son to die for the sins of the whole world and will save anyone who comes to Him in repentance and give that person eternal life....... but He doesn't promise an easy road to that eternal life. In fact, for many of us that road is mostly uphill with potholes and more thorns than roses.
It is easy to promise commitment to the love of your life when you're in your 20's, when you are both in great physical condition and seem to have the world by the tails. It is another thing when the house is full of screaming kids, the dishes need done, the car is broken down, or when some cruel disease is sucking the life and vitality out of that young man or woman you promised to be with forever.
It is also easy to promise to serve God and love Him when our faith is young and everything is going great. When it seems every prayer we pray gets answered, and life is like a bed of roses.
It isn't so easy to serve God when things aren't going well.
When the womb and arms are empty. When miscarriage is an all too common word in your vocabulary.
When the bills outnumber the money coming in.
When all of your friends are finding the love of their lives and you are still a party of one,
When you find yourself struggling with attractions to the same sex that won't go away no matter how hard and often you pray.
When death takes away a loved one early and leaves you shattered and hurting.
When you have lost track of how many job applications you have filled out, and still remain jobless.
When depression blocks out God and it seems our prayers are bouncing off of the ceiling to fall to the floor.
When the spouse who promised to love you forever leaves you for someone else.
Unlike Joel Osteen and others like him will tell us, the Christian life isn't easy and being a Christian does not exempt us from bad stuff nor does it automatically fatten our bank account. If being a Christian meant an easy life with no problems, everyone would want to be one...... but that isn't the case. We love and serve God because He first loved us, not to get free stuff and a problem-free life.
I differ from my Calvinist friends. I believe we can walk away from God, to give up, and go back to our life of sin and miss Heaven after being a Christian. There are many reasons I cannot believe the once-saved, always saved theology, but one reason is this: Why would Satan fight Christians so hard if we can never miss Heaven once we become a Christian? Oh, I have heard their explanations and don't think they hold water. I believe that is one of the big reasons Satan fights us so hard...... he wants to take us back from God, so he throws everything he has got at us.
I am not one to blame the devil or God for every misfortune that comes my way. Some things are just life, and some things are a result of my own stupidity or sin, but I do believe God lets some things come our way to shape and mold us, and there are things He allows that we may never understand while on this earth, but He always has a purpose. He may like He did with Job, step back and let Satan throw everything he has at us, and we may never know why. It is up to us to keep walking with God.
When we take that step, whether it be walking down the aisle of the church to kneel at an altar, or to kneel by a beside to confess our sins and repent, and ask Jesus into our heart..... it is a commitment like no other we can make. We can break it like other commitments, but God will never break it. He may test our commitment and allow the devil to test our commitment and come at us with every temptation and trial he has in his arsenal.
This Christian walk is a walk of faith. It is a walk of commitment. A commitment that says we will keep serving God no matter what. That even when life throws more at us than we can handle, we will still cling to the same God who saved us from sin. That we like Job will say "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."
Even if it means being single for the rest of your life, if it means never being a mother or father, never being free from desires you never asked for, if it means living in the most sparse of conditions or going to a god-forsaken third world country.....whatever life brings us as a Christian, we must keep walking, be truly committed to serving this God who sent His only Son to save us. And to serve Him though none go with us.