Friday, July 5, 2013

Hope That Will Not Fail

1 Corinthians 13:12-13 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Today in “Jesus Calling” I read about worshiping God in spirit and truth, and I was so thankful for the encouragement found not only in the devotional writing, but even more so because of who my God is. This was especially important to me today, and as I reflected on those words I became more and more impressed with those who might be struggling today with praise and thanksgiving.

Praise is sometimes difficult to mouth as our hearts are broken from the news that someone close to us is going to die, whether it be as a result of a cancer or some other means. Several years ago I walked through the passing of my parents. It was a difficult season as I watched my mom struggle for years with my dad right by her side, and then my dad struggle himself as he was found to have a spread cancer. Their hearts’ desire was to be together, and one of my sisters turned her living room into a room for them so that this could happen. And our gracious God brought them into His presence just a few months apart. I know that when they died from our side of things, that they actually stepped into the presence of God. While I know that the pain they had suffered was ended and they were experiencing eternal health in its fullest, there still was a hole left in my heart as with the rest of my family, because we were no longer able to share with them in the personal way we had so treasured.

Even now I am aware of several people, who like my parents, know that they have a disease or a cancer that will soon lead to their own death.  And in the case of all of the individuals I am thinking of they are approaching that day with the confidence that at the moment they placed their trust in Christ for salvation that the day they died that their salvation would be fully realized in glorification as they enter into presence of their heavenly Father. For them there will be a time soon when there will be no more reason to hold onto their faith, because they will have seen the fulfillment of their belief.  For them there is will be no more reason to hope, because they will see it fully realized. And for them the love which they have known in a limited way, they will know it its fullness.

At the same time, there is the very real reality that they will no longer enjoy the daily presence and love of those close to them here, and for those who love these individuals, while they might rejoice in the certainty of faith and hope for their loved one, they also struggle with the impending separation in their own love relationship.

Man was created as a relational being and a key part of that is to have a relationship with God and not know death. But death became a part of all of our lives because of sin.  Our sin separated us from God, and it was God who made it possible for us to again have victory over death and receive eternal life. But His process for this necessitated more death. It necessitated the death of His own Son—Jesus Christ—who went to a cross to pay the penalty for our sins.  And it necessitates our physical death as we pass from our life in these bodies and our relationships here into His presence and even to a new body not made with human hands, eternal in the heavens. There is no other way. Well, almost no other way. One day Christ will return and take with Him all those who are saved and remain—who are alive on that day.

Romans 8:18-25 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

As relational beings this is hard process and it hurts to go through it, but we can get through it because of the hope that we that will not fail.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (7/4)

When you worship Me in spirit and truth, you join with choirs of angels who are continually before My throne. Though you cannot hear their voices, your praise and thanksgiving are distinctly audible in heaven. Your petitions are also heard, but it is your gratitude that clears the way to My Heart. With the way between us wide open, My blessings fall upon you in rich abundance. The greatest blessing is nearness to Me – abundant Joy and Peace in My Presence. Practice praising and thanking Me continually throughout this day.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4

1 comment:

Lost in Paper said...

Joe, thank you for sharing your thoughts and the scriptures. This has been quite the season for your family and your steadfastness in the Lord has been such an encouragement for me.