Thursday, September 23, 2010

Walking with Jesus is no “happily ever after”!

Well, if you’ve bothered to read on then you are either mad at me for this title or curious as to what I’ve been drinking with my coffee this morning.  Let me first assure you that I love Jesus and that I count every moment in His presence as a blessing, because I have found joy there, in His presence, which cannot compare with any joy found on this earth.  And, believe me, I have searched, and nothing this side of Heaven can compare.  So, what’s my point?

We have this idea in our minds, which was planted in our infancy, about “happily ever after”.   The stories we read (and viewed) all demonstrated a common conclusion.  That is, at the end of the drama, when the villain has received his just desserts, then the story ends with, say it with me, “and they lived happily ever after”.  Now, in our young minds we accept this to be true.  We believe that the rest of their lives will be lived without conflict.  After all, the villain has been vanquished; and all of the issues experienced by sub-characters have been resolved.  Therefore, we conclude that the bad stuff is over, done, never to be seen again.

But that’s not how life is, is it?  If you’ve lived more than 10 years on this planet, you already know that that understanding of “happily ever after” doesn’t exist.  Or do we?  My experience is that many people who follow Jesus actually expect a “happily ever after”.  I’ll make this personal in an attempt to keep my offenses to a minimum.  When I accepted Christ’s gift of salvation I FULLY expected that there would be no more difficulty in my life.  Can you imagine my shock then when trouble arose?  It knocked me off my pegs!

The truth about life is that it is full of trouble.  There is no “happily ever after” that whisks us off carefree beyond the reach of pain and suffering.

1Peter 4:12-16 
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

When we walk with Jesus we must expect trials and sufferings, but they are not to be feared.  On the contrary, if we suffer because of our walking with Jesus, then we can celebrate.  We celebrate because we are “blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on [us]”.  Our response is not “poor me”, but rather “praise be to God for allowing me to bear Christ’s name and to share in His suffering”.

I understand that it is very easy for me to type such a statement, but it is a huge challenge to live it out.  O but when we do live it out, what a magnificent witness it is to this world.  What a tremendous story we make when we praise God in our suffering.  But beyond our witness to the world there’s something else that comes with walking with Christ during our trials.

Even though our walk with Jesus is no “happily ever after” we actually experience something even better.  Yes, we experience something BETTER than “happily ever after”.  If we walk with Christ, even though we go through times of suffering, we will find peace.  The peace of Christ is like nothing else on earth.  And as for me, I’ll take Christ’s peace over “happily ever after” any day of the week.

If you are suffering, please turn your eyes to Jesus.  Lay down your burden of pain before Him.  Ask Jesus into your heart.  Let Him carry you for a while.  And you will find peace even in the face of suffering.  For that matter you can find Christ’s peace in every circumstance.

Philippians 4:4-7 
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Find peace,
Lon Alderman

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