We have been doing a study on Acts, and this week we were up to Acts 11-13. Chapter 11 opens with James being singled out and killed by Herod. Then it goes on to the arrest of Peter, who is then set free by an angel. The next person to look at in this section is Paul, who is stoned and left for dead outside the city, yet he rises up again and re-enters the city.
The good? Peter, who acted hastily in the garden of Gethsemane and later denied Christ 3 times, is arrested and under heavy guard, and is then freed by God.
The bad? James, a son of Zebedee, someone that we never hear anything "bad" about, is murdered, and God simply allows that.
The ugly? Paul, who earlier in life severely persecuted the Christians, all in the name of God, is tortured and suffers frequently, and yet is continually restored by God so that he can go on teaching.
Does this make sense? Is there a formula that we can figure out in order to be saved by God? Does God promise us perfect health and wealth in this life?? To all that, the answer is NO!
Well that seems rather hopeless, doesn't it? Are we then left to fate?? Again, NO! We are "left to" God's ways, which are ALWAYS better than our ways, whether we understand them or not. Well, you think, how can I live that way? How?
3 realities of the Christian life::
- Hardships do not mean God is mad at you. As a child of God, your position will never change. God will never love you any more or less than He does right now! (I love that!)
- Hardships do mean that God is growing you. Check out James 1:2, Romans 5:3-4, Romans 8:16, and Romans 8:28.
- We have an eternal hope in Christ Jesus ~ He has overcome and promises eternity to us. Check out Revelations 21:4.
Father-God, You are amazing beyond belief! Thank You that Your ways are so much better than our ways, and we can absolutely trust You in all things. Help each of us to walk this out in faith. Through the blood of Christ Jesus, Amen!