Thursday, January 05, 2012

When Things go Wrong?

Some people tell you that a Christian will have a great life and that if you live in accordance with God's laws, everything will go well for you. God will heal your sickness, keep you safe and bless you in every aspect of your life.

So what does one do when these things do not happen. What happens when a Christian is sick, has cancer, has financial problems, his marriage falls apart? Does this mean he is not a good Christian? Did he fail to give God his entire heart and life?

Let's check a few facts... Jesus warned His disciples that, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The Holy Bible : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984). Jn 16:33. The apostles did have troubles especially a few years after Jesus' death and resurrection. They began to be persecuted strongly by the Jews. Jesus had also told them that if the Jews had persecuted Him, the Jews would also persecute them.  

I have known many Christians who have had serious illnesses, that for whatever reason--only God knows--they were not healed despite many prayers and great patience. 

The questions are not always easy to answer. Here are some thoughts that I believe are Biblically sound. 
  • We live in a fallen world. Sin is rampant, not everything/everyone submits to God's authority. 
  • Disease and death entered the world due to man's sin. None of us are immune.
  • God DOES heal. 
  • Some people DO NOT get healed. 
  • 11 of 12 Early Church Apostles were martyred. John, the only one not martyred was exiled to Patmos after being boiled in oil, to live the remainder of his days in relative isolation.
  • The promise of God for Christians is that in the NEXT LIFE, there will be no sickness, death or even tears.
We believe that God has everything under control, but does not necessarily protect us from ALL harm. He promised that He would give us strength when times are tough and give us the words we need when we are put on trial for His sake.

I have personally known people who have been miraculously healed of diseases, drug addictions, cancers, and self-destructive habits. Therefore, I know God DOES heal! I just do not know the answers why some are and some are not.  I guess that is why I am NOT God!

So what do we do with the questions? We TRUST GOD. He promised that He would be with us through all our circumstances, trials and tribulations even to the end of time. We hold to the truth that God loves us. We CONTINUE to pray for healing for those we know, and hear about that are sick, injured or are going through hard times.  We rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn. 

I believe that those who claim that our lives should be trouble free when we are Jesus' followers need a reality check. What do you think? 

What We Hear and Who We Are

This past Sunday, two of my friends attended the same worship service, heard the same sermon, in all ways external, had the same experience.

One was excited by what she heard--the message, the speaker's illustrations/experiences, and his dedication and involvement in his message. The other one was not as excited by what he heard--the message or the speaker's experiences and illustrations. 

How can this be, and what does it mean for those who follow Christ?

I have wondered this for years, as I grew up Roman Catholic and a Christian, and I know many others who are similar.  I also know many people who are Roman Catholic, or generic Protestant, that do not seem to know Christ [be a Christian].  I think it is the same as when two or more people witness the same accident. They generally see something different than one another. 

We all filter things [everything] through our own filtration systems, our thoughts, beliefs, philosophies, desires, etc. One person attends church and finds Jesus, another finds nothing. Many people attend church, love Jesus, and yet differ in their experiences at similar or the same worship service as others.  

I believe the bottom line is not what we see or hear, but what filtration process we use.  It is all about the heart of the individual. Even Christians who are similar have different filters because of what they have experienced, learned, read, etc.

We must, if we call ourselves Christian, submit ourselves to Jesus! We must strive to see things His way. Does this mean that we cannot have differences? Absolutely NOT! God did not create robots, and He does not want us all exactly the same.  He DOES want us to be sincere about our faith, and it MUST BE an active faith. His word declares that faith without works is dead.  So, we should as it says in Romans 14, allow people to have some leeway in how they practice their faith. We need to accept people that see things differently (as long as it is not contrary to sound doctrine).