We don’t have to look far to know that we are in a broken world. The trials and pains of life come to all of us. It is how we deal with them that matters. And I must readily admit that I don’t always deal with them in the right way. I am not a good patient when I face some pain. I took a fall last week that wrenched my back. It is painful when I move and have to use a walker to get around. I don’t like not being able to get up and go. Which leads to frustration, etc. etc. etc. I said I’m not a good patient. I often wake up with the verse of some song playing in my mind. This morning it was a reminder that I needed. It was an Easter song highlighting the events of the cross and empty tomb. “Then came the morning.”
Then came the morning
shadows vanished before the sun
death had lost and life had won
the morning had come.
This is the assurance we have. This is the message of the Gospel. God has come to share our burdens and to redeem us from the power of sin, death, and the devil. We have that assurance in the empty tomb. The morning has come, and with that truth we have the assurance that it will come for each us. I’m still not a good patient, but whatever I go through today is not the final word. My present pain will ease up, but more importantly we live the daily hope that in Christ all things shall be made new. Including our broken bodies.
Yesterday, I used an illustration in my sermon trying to show how God uses trials and unanswered prayers to help us grow into the beauty of HIs holiness. Think about the finished product. A cabinet or a table, for example. I can tell you that there was pain and force at every stage of its construction. The raw wood had to be planed with knives scrapping off layer after layer until it was the right thickness. The boards had to be edge glued with heavy bar clamps applying tremendous pressure; a 40 tooth saw blade cut through the wood at 3600 rpm to get the right sizes; then there were holes drilled, more shaping, sanding, and polishing. At every stage there was pain in order to bring forth something that was useful and attractive. And the wood worker was there at every step. At each stage he was saying “No” to doing it an easier way. At each stage he was applying love and skill. At each stage he knew the beauty of the finished item he desired. So God is doing in our lives, in the good times and especially in the bad.
We all seek victory. When we go to war, we are in it for victory. When we watch a sporting event we are rooting for victory. We speak of victory in elections and court cases. We want victory over some bully or unfairness in a system. But where we find our true victory is in Jesus Christ. The Apostle John wrote, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. “(IJ.5:4) And this victory often makes no sense by worldly standards. I read a recent interview with Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic from age 17, living with chronic pain, and now having received a diagnosis of breast cancer. She has every worldly reason to rail against God, and complain about her life, but she doesn’t. She only speaks of how each trial has brought here closer to Jesus, and what she has learned through His Word. Her life looks like defeat, but in her faith she has overcome the world, and touched the lives of countless others.