"For everything there is a season ... a time to weep, and a time to laugh ..." (Ecc 3)
The last week or so has had its ups and downs. I will be honest, it has not been easy. But I am so thankful that God has taught me (and continues to teach me) about His sovereignty over all things. Even in times of great difficulty, I know that God loves me and will ultimately work all things for good and that He uses those trials to turn me from trusting in myself to find rest for my fearful, hungry soul in Him.
Being thankful for these wonderful truths leads me to be angry at those who, through their public ministry, would pervert them because, not only do they lead many astray, they leave those who are the Lord's in bondage and give them no comfort in the inevitable trials of life. Jesus said "in this world you will have trouble" and who can deny that this has been their experience? It is bad enough that the world seems obsessed with self-help and self-fullfillment from fitness to beauty, and relationships to success in business. Yet there are those claiming to be ministers of the Gospel who teach such nonsense as saying that if you have enough faith and don't sin you can have a wonderful happy, healthy and wealthy life.
I read that Joel Osteen's book "Your best life now" sold over 3 million copies and his second book "Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day" sold over 4. How sad that so many can be deceived. Do they even read their Bibles? Consider Joseph - he was sold into slavery by his brothers then imprisoned for years due to a false accusation. Or Jeremiah who was imprisoned in a dried-up well. Or the apostle Paul who was imprisoned and eventually killed and countless other prophets, priests and men and women of God who suffered for Christ's sake.
"Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth."They didn't get their "best life now" why should we think we should?
What we all need to hear is a call to endurance and selfless living - I know I need to be challenged regularly about this - and the only way we will respond to such a call is by hearing of and delighting in the Lord Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice for our sake. The one who "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame". Now there's a pattern for life. It won't be easy but it is the only thing that brings true meaning to our lives and provides the strength and hope to endure the storms of life.
Ecclisiates 3 also says that "there is a time ... to speak". Today was such a day.