Some traveling missionaries from a different religion just came by the house to “turn us” their way. Whenever that happens we offer the story of my supernatural healing as a testimony of our deep faith in the One True Son of God. And, whenever that happens, the missionaries smile, say a few nice words, then become awkwardly silent. Every time.
People of all faiths have praised the Lord for doing this work in me year after year, I witness it all the time. But there’s something about people who show up at my house on mission to convert me from my “false doctrine” that keeps them from seeing His glory in it. I want to tell them that their lack of appreciation for what He’s done is the single most telling sign that the Holy Spirit does not dwell within them. I will try harder to pray for their ears to be truly opened so that one day we can fully discuss it and praise the Lord the way He deserves.
Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
He deserves praise for what He did for me when He cast the cancer out of my body. But He also deserves praise for making the sun rise today. For blessing me with children, no matter how frustrating they can be. For providing the money to buy food. For being there when no one else is. For forgiving every single sin I have ever committed. For knowing the bad, ugly, evil thoughts that fester within me, and the real condition of my heart, and loving me anyway. But as I get wrapped up in my minor problems and feel suffocated, angry, fearful, battered, or alone, I don’t remember the sunrise. I am burdened by the kids. The bank account is too low. I don’t recognize His presence.
The gospel message is SO SIMPLE, why is it SO HARD to live out? Going back to the Old Testament, there were only 10 Commandments. Ten simple laws, that spawned numerous iterations because the people couldn’t distinguish between the black and white. No matter how many experts weighed in on what the laws meant, people kept breaking them. Day after day. Finally, the Lord sent His only son, who was fully God and fully man, to live as a sinless, perfect sacrifice to atone for all the sins we would ever commit. Jesus abolished the law with His death on the cross. Now we have no law, and still we can’t behave. I can’t even make it through breakfast without feeling sorry for myself. By lunch I have judged everyone I’ve interacted with. By dinner I’ve spent more time complaining to or about God than praising and petitioning Him put together. And it isn’t until after dinner that I really let loose. Right before bed the guilt sets in and I start confessing my sin and planning what a great person I’ll be tomorrow.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
This stuff isn’t easy. If it was, we wouldn’t need a thousand pages of the Bible. We wouldn’t have to read, “do not be discouraged”, because life would be so easy we wouldn’t be tempted to lose heart. And we wouldn’t dare to cast our cares on Him and receive the relief that comes from trusting in the Holy Spirit instead of ourselves.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 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.
If you’re feeling like a failure, know that you aren’t alone. If you can’t think of anything to praise God for, thank Him that Swarna had been told her cancer returned, but she trusted in Him and the Pet scan came back clear. Praise Him for having mercy on Mindy, who did not know Him before her diagnosis, but proclaimed His name before she passed away. Praise Him because His promises are true and His mercies are new each day. He might not have answered you yesterday, but that doesn’t mean He won’t do it today. Keep praising, keep praying, keep reading His promises.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.