Saturday, April 19, 2014

I think I misunderstood following Jesus

Can I tell you something? I think I misunderstood being a Christian all these years.
I have believed in Jesus and come to love, trust, & obey Him-even as much as heading to Bible college to train for a life of sharing the Gospel.
Then the tragic event at Newtown occured in 2012. It rocked me. The God I know could have stopped that murderer from taking young, innocent lives at Sandy Hook elementary school. And He didn't. Can I still love and trust God?

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not naive to the tragedies in this fallen world that my good, just God has not prevented. My heart-strings have been pulled by horrific accounts of injustice: sex slavery, natural disasters, & 9/11. I know of martyrdom and persecution endured by Christians. I know believers that have prayed to be spared and instead, endured pain & loss. Christian friends have buried babies and I lost one myself.

But something about having a 1st grader, trusting God to protect him as he sits in his classroom and runs on the playground changed everything for me.
The Bible promises to protect and bless the lives of those that love Jesus and obey His commands. Right?
I read and re-read such promises. I couldn't find any reason not to believe them & further, believe they were for me.
But suffering and blessing seem mutually exclusive.
What was I believing then? Why was I following Jesus?
And this began a quest to get it right. Not only for myself but for those I'm sharing Jesus with, namely, my kids.
I understand that following Jesus doesn't preclude us from suffering and pain. 
The Bible chronicles real, harsh pain & suffering in the lives of God's people.  
I love Jesus for Jesus. 
I obey His commands because I love him. (more on this here)
I believe every good & perfect gift comes from the Father.
I believe He makes all things work together for the good of those who love him.
I believe he gives and he takes away.
I embrace trials, because the testing of my faith produces perseverance.
I will become more like Jesus in my suffering, if I choose to trust Him, & to conduct myself the with the virtues He prescribes.
If I lean in to Jesus in the trials of life, I will find peace that passes understanding.
When I meet hardships and experience pain, while believing and following Jesus, He is there even if I don't recognize Him.
He is the One I hope He will be. His nature never changes. Circumstances change.
"We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help." Heb 4:15-16 (MSG)
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