Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cheer Up, Things Could Be Worse

When I was down in the dumps a friend told me, “Cheer up, things could be worse.” So I cheered up and sure enough, things got worse.

So you’ve heard that one, right? But how many of us are afraid of getting our minds off our problems because if we do so, somehow according to our thinking, things might get worse, as if our worrying somehow fends off disaster. The believer in Christ does not need to bear his burdens alone in fear and worry. As the old song says, “Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” God has promised to be with us, to guide and protect us. So, why do we have such a difficulty in worries about tomorrows and in particular things that never come about. We worry about the “could be” so much that we miss out on the blessings that are all around us.

Now I want to be clear on something, before I go much further. At this point I may sound to you like I writing the Positive Thinking Doctrine, and this might be the case except for one thing. I am writing about the promises of God, but in order to have the promises of God you must be the child of God. To be the child of God you must repent and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, Who died on the Cross in your place for your sin, and in believing you receive Him into your life. To give the promises of God without preaching the Cross is a deep error that has tremendous consequences. Without the Cross we have no claim to the promises of God.

But what are God’s promises? Some teach that if we think rightly and claim it that God will make us prosperous in all our ways. However, 1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us taht we will go through testings (difficult times) just as do unbelievers. There is no promise of unending prosperity for the believer in this life. On the contrary, there is the reminder that we will often have conflicts, persecutions and distress. And why should we think otherwise, this is after a world of sin that will someday melt away and be created anew. So what advantage is there to being a believer in Christ? The answer is in the second part of 1 Corinthians 10:13. With the difficulties, God make a way for us to escape. In other words, we are not apart from His love.

I never realized this truth of God’s presence during the middle of adversity as much as I did during the days that followed Hurricane Irene. The night before the storm, I prayed for God’s protection over us and that the storm would dissipate before reaching us, that is, I asked the Lord to spare us any difficulty from Irene. This was not to be so. The night following the storm I had every reason to expect from the reports of the extent of the flood that everything we had, was probably gone. However, I had an unexplained peace, that even if we had lost everything, it was ok. The day after the storm, I found, yes, there would be hard days of work ahead to repair the damage left from Irene, but that most of what was important to us had been spared. I felt an overwhelming presence of God’s love and that He was teaching me, “I love you. Do you love me enough to trust my love?”

1 Corinthians 10:13 proved true for us. We were not spared the difficulty of Irene. But God did provide a way for us to overcome. In the weeks that followed the storm, we continued to have difficulties, and I did my usual amount of worry about each one, until I remembered how God had spared our house. Wouldn’t He take care of these relatively minor difficulties as well?

If you know Christ, cheer up. Even if things get worse, He will be with you. Turn your worries over to Him.

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