Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bad News

A lot of persons, even a lot of Christians, find it troubling that I would say that believing in God and being thankful does not change your circumstances. It doesn't take away your troubles or make your life perfect. Being a person of God doesn't mean your life is easy. Far from it.

That's a stark contrast to a dominant Christian narrative in our culture, namely the one that says that if you put your faith in God, nothing will go wrong any more. Believe in Him, and you won't have problems in this world. Be thankful for what God has done in your life and you will have only things to be thankful for. 

It's one of the reasons so many come to the faith, hoping that God is going to fix their earthly life. It's one of the reasons so many leave the faith.... 

But being God's person is no guarantee of ease or comfort. It's no guarantee of safety or external peace. Remember that Jesus was a perfect man in perfect relationship with God, yet in this world, He had trouble. He was mocked. He was name-called. He was back-stabbed. The Scriptures describe Him as having anguish of the soul. He was rejected. He was crucified, for crying out loud, and while you might say that was part of God's plan and so it had to happen, don't lose sight of the fact that it's quite a trouble and an inconvenience for the very real Man of flesh who had to endure it. 

And this very same man said to His followers that the same would be true for them that was true for Him, even though He was in perfect relationship with His Father - in this world, you will have trouble. But behold, I have overcome the world.

Note that He does not say that He has overcome the troubles. 

This is the fundamental difference between the Gospel that Jesus preached and the lesser theology that we are too often preaching in our churches. Our churches are too easily preaching that Jesus has overcome the troubles, that once you give your life to Him, it's all sunshine and peaches from there on out. And then we discover that this is just not the case, that we still have troubles - even that Jesus Himself said we would still have troubles - and the Good News of the Gospels suddenly feels like bad news. 

It's heartbreaking the number of persons who leave the church, who throw off the faith, because they believe that God is neither good enough nor strong enough to handle their troubles when the truth of the Gospel, the real Good News of God, is that He's overcome the world

So be thankful - be thankful for a God who provides, for a God who is present, for a God who cares deeply about you and loves you to the highest heavens. It really does change your perspective on things. 

But don't expect it to change your things. He never said it would. In this world, you will have trouble.

Thankfully, your God has overcome this world. And that, my friends, is very good news. 

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