Problems are God’s way of leading you to something better.
If you are in God’s kingdom, He leads you. Sometimes His leading is through painful circumstances. We don’t like it, but we’ll like the place where He brought us. Adversity is a path to bliss.
Job first suffered, then he was blessed. Joseph was a slave and then in jail, then he was blessed. Daniel was exiled from his homeland and forced into the king’s service, then he was blessed. Before he became king, David was a fugitive in the desert.
Don’t be caught off guard (as I have). Feel God’s peace in midst of the turmoil.
In the Middle Ages, if you REALLY wanted to serve God, you went off to a cave where you could be touched by no worldly temptations and lived with no human contact.
While there is value to the contemplative life of prayer, true Christian service is rendered unto needy humans. Jesus congratulates some for feeding the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned, for giving clothes to the poor. They are incredulous. They don’t remember doing this to Jesus: Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?
Jesus responds: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. — Matt. 25:37-40 NIV.
Jesus inseparably identifies himself not with the pope, not with the saint, not with the pastor, but with the poor and abject.
There are all kinds of needs. There are suicidal kids, dying marriages, gospel-ignorant peoples. The picture is of remote modern hermits in Ethiopia who follow the the hermit model. I don’t criticize anyone’s efforts to serve Christ. I’m sure they’re making an impact in the world through prayer. But I wish to say here: Serving PEOPLE of any need is serving Jesus.
Extremely contrary to the world’s concept of love, the Bible says that love, first and foremost, is patient.
A centerstage in scripture is Paul’s poetry on love. And the first thing he says is: Love is patient.
Here’s the rest of the passage:
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. — 1 Cor. 13:4-8 NIV.
It makes a wonderful inscription at a wedding. But DOING IT after the wedding — years after the wedding — is what’s needed. What’s needed is we be patient with each other. I bet there wouldn’t be so many broken homes if we would practice true love (patience).
Here’s every element of the series:
- 1 Cor. 13:4
1 Cor. 13:5
1 Cor. 13:6
1 Cor. 13:7
1 Cor. 13:8