Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Christian in Adversity

Recently a friend was quite unhappy. He has been thanking God everyday that his car would not break down. But well, it did. He cannot figure out why. His feeling may be that he already did all the right things. But why did the protection not work? 

I can think of two points, which are very interesting for us to look at. 

1) Thanking God everyday to some of us is like pushing a "protection" button daily. But if the protection is there, why push the button everyday? 

If I had known the protection is there I may not think about my car breaking down everyday, as I am not occupied by it. Thus, I may thank God here and there, but perhaps not everyday. And if my car breaks down I would still have no doubt my car is protected. And won't be easily thrown off. 

So the key is not what we do right to activate God's blessings. But in our own time we need to always to go back to the foundation of our belief, which is Jesus Christ dying for me at the cross. Once I am established in that, I would have no doubt I am protected. It is good for me to thank God. But I thank Him because I am grateful for what He has done, not to activate His blessings. I thank Him cos' I know His blessings are there for me. 

But no matter what, the believer is not out of God's blessings and protection. See point 2. 

2) The second point is immensely interesting. Many Christians are surprised and perplexed when they pray and see that not only did their prayer not come true, they are challenged in the exact area that they are praying for. 
Say I pray to get a promotion. But instead my boss starts to pick on me, and favors others over me. To most of is we would think that:
- our prayer did not come true. 
- God is displeased w us and is not w us. 
- we are not worthy or has done something wrong. 

It is none is the above. 

Now can you think of an incident in the bible (New Testament) where a bible character asked for something from God. But instead something very contrary happened. And the bible character stuck w God and prevailed? Try guessing for fun. And then scroll down to find out. 

Jesus told His disciples that they will get over to the other side of the lake (Mark 4:35, Matt 8:23, Luke 8:22). But a storm arose. Waves were hitting their decks. It was so bad that the whole boat was filled w water and was sinking. They were fishermen in that lake. Professionals. But they were freaked out. It must be bad! They woke The Lord and asked Him if He cares that they are perishing. Cos' it looks like they are dying and The Lord is not going to do anything. Jesus woke up, rebuked the storm by saying the direct contrary to it (peace!) and asked them why are they afraid.  Why do they have no faith? 

What can we learn from this? Here we see that even when Jesus walked on earth, something contrary to what He has spoken ("get over to the other side") can happen. It is amazing isn't it? Mind blowing! But this serves as an object lesson for His disciples then, and now for us. Due to us being present in a fallen world, the enemy can come to challenge us. So we need not be surprised when it happens to us too. When I pray and should something contrary happens, I know:
- God does not want me to be afraid. He is not behind the adversities to teach me a lesson. In fact, He is my help!
- my prayers are still being answered. What happens is a disruption. A distraction. Not a gauge of my blessings in Christ. The enemy has no power to remove God's blessings in my life (Romans 8:38-39)
- there is nothing wrong w me. God likes me. God is still good to me. In fact, Jesus is still in my boat and has never left. And if God is for me, who should I fear (Psalms 118:6)? 
- God wants me to exercise faith in the situation. That could be the reason why Jesus is sleeping while all the storm is happening. Cos' the moment He is wakened He spoke against the storm and calmed it. Thank God He did not awaken and invite His disciples to brave the storm together w Him. This is what many Christians believe, that God wants believers to brave the storm. If this is so, the Lord would not have stilled the storm the moment He was awakened by the disciples. To The Lord, when there is sickness and He is there, the sickness turns into health. When there is lack and He is there, there will be more than enough. When there is sadness and death and He is there, there will be celebration and life. Cos' sickness, death, sadness, defeat all does not belong w Him. 

How do we exercise our faith - our belief in Jesus' finished work? The Lord demonstrated how faith works by speaking to the storm, speak directly in the face of our difficulties. God wants me to hold my ground and speak the direct opposite to the adversities I am faced with. Jesus spoke "peace!" to the storm. So in our example, even when I prayed and my boss does not like me, I will say "I have favor w my boss, he is a great blessing to me." And God shall foul the plan of the enemy and remove the work of the enemy to give me victory in the situation. 

1 John 5:4-5 because everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith. Now who is the person who has conquered the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 

Beloved, be encouraged in The Lord. Because you believe in Jesus, you are an overcomer. A conquerer of the world around us! Hope this blesses you. 

Shalom. Isaac.