Christmas was just last week. Have you ever watched or read Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas? It's been one of my favorite since I was a child. The Grinch comes in and attempts to "steal" Christmas. Hmmm? I'm pretty sure there is another person that often attempts to "steal" but I'll come back to that. In the story, the Grinch steals everything that has to do with Christmas. He takes away the toys, decorations, and food. He's so proud of himself for finally ridding Whoville and himself of all this Christmas nonsense. But to his surprise, the next morning, the Whos down in Whoville wake up and begin singing Christmas songs. This leads the Grinch to ponder that maybe Christmas is more than what he thought it was.
Do you ever find yourself drowning in an unforgiving sea of questions that are slamming down on you like tsunami sized waves? Ugh, I hate these moments. The moments were everything swirls and whirls and doesn't always make sense. Why are these moments even happening? Isn't Christianity supposed to be a golden ticket to a good life?
If that is what you've been told, you've been lied to. If that is what you believe, then you're lying to yourself. But don't count yourself a failure, I've been there too. And I still have my moments when I just want everything to go well. I'm pretty sure it's a defect of simply being human. You know...with all those imperfections and such. The whole instinct to survive, fight for life, fight for comfort, etc.
All my life, I have grown up in church or around church people. All my life I have heard about the blessings, and blessings, and blessings of God. Sure, I've heard about the trials of Job and Joseph. The shortcomings and doubts of Moses and Abraham and every other person listed in the Bible. But for some reason, my mind often gets caught up on those blessings. So much so that I forget about the God who provides them.
Where is God when we cry? Where is God when we can't pay the bills? When a loved one leaves this earth? When our children are fighting? When we're creeping to the edge of giving up? When life just isn't going the way we had hoped or planned?
God is still God. He didn't and doesn't go away. He's not on vacation. And he hasn't pulled an us and said, "Forget all this, I need some ME time." God remains God.
So why do we cry? Why do we have heartache and pain? Why do we suffer? That is the age old question, the first and only question to be asked when someone doubts the very existence of God, right?
The Bible warns us that we have a Grinch attempting to ruin our lives. Satan sneaks around trying to 'steal' all those so called blessings to see how we'll react.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8 NKJV
A lot of times, I hear Christians focus on verse 8. "Remember, that devil is sneaking about be on the lookout." Be on the lookout for what? I don't know about you but living my life always watching over my shoulder for an attack from the devil doesn't sound like freedom. The Whos weren't waiting around for the Grinch to steal all their Christmas.
"You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does." 1 Peter 5:9-11 MSG
The next verse is where our focus really needs to be, "It's the same with Christians all over the world." Wait, you mean, my neighbors might be struggling? You mean, my friends might be having a hard time living out their faith? You mean sometimes they don't have the answers to the hard questions either but they still choose to follow God simply because they choose to follow God.
Faith doesn't come from a building. Faith doesn't come from our parents or grandparents. Faith is something between us and God. It is something each one of us has to seek for our own lives. A trust in God that will not waiver no matter what is taken away or given in our lifetime. God didn't ask Noah to sacrifice his son, he asked him to build an ark. He didn't ask Daniel to speak to a leader, he asked him to continue praying to him each day no matter what. Faith is a narrow road between one individual and God. An intimate journey through their lifetime. God knows each of our hearts intimately, he knows what will bring us closer to him.
At the end of the day, we must ask ourselves what could make us lose our faith? That is what the enemy is walking about trying to figure out. If I touch their money will that touch their faith? What about their family? Their children? Their job security? Their health? The story of the Grinch and Whos isn't a new story. It played out in the book of Job when the Satan said, "Yeah, of course Job is a good servant, you give him everything he could ever want. Take it all away and see what happens."
I'll be the first to stand up and say, "I do not wish to lose everything." Who in their right mind would? Not even Job wished this upon himself. However, the convictions of my heart in the very next breathe would cause a whisper of a prayer, "But God, if I must choose between everything and You, take it away because there's no comparison."
It is with this mindset, this position of the heart, that Christians can say, "God is real. Whether there is war or peace, whether death or life, whether sickness or health, He is real and He is God. I will serve him no matter what happens in this lifetime."
With this kind of lifestyle the devil, and the world, might find themselves saying, "Maybe faith is something a little more."
A New Identity
What is this blog about? You mean, I'm supposed to have a purpose? Ok, if that's required then my purpose is life.
Better with age...
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