No Walk in the Park

            A few years ago I saw a TV ad for a “name it and claim it” preacher who strutted across the stage and shouted the Christian life is a “walk in the park.”  How much of that sort of thing have you heard?  I’ve heard far too much.  It’s sickening.  And those Christians who are always smiling and giddy?  Where do they get it?  Are they on something?  Did they have Super Duper Denial Flakes with extra sugar for breakfast?  Maybe some people just have a happy temperament.  Well, I’m not one of them.

            A few years after I became a Christian, I wasn’t sure what I’d gotten into.  I was in Bible college with big plans for the future.  Then  the girl I thought was my girlfriend dropped out over spring break without telling me or anyone else.  I had just depleted my finds to buy her a ring.  It wasn’t easy facing a skeptical jeweler for a refund.  V.’s untimely exit was the loudest “NO” from God I’d heard concerning the direction I was going.  I thought I was on the right track, too.  Needless to say, things had definitely not shaped up to be a walk in the park.  I told a few friends that, if the Christian life were based on a contract we each had to sign, I wouldn’t have signed up.

            You’ve probably got bigger heartbreaks in your past and may think I’m whining anyway.    If you’re like me, you hate pat answers and quippy, cute formulas that supposedly make everything all right.  How about a little perspective.

            None of us have had to face the trials Job faced.   God actually allowed Satan to do a number on Job.  Of course, God knew Job was a good man.  While the book deals a lot with suffering, it’s got every wrong idea about walking with God you can imagine.  We’ve all heard them and maybe even said some of them ourselves.  What’s more, those ideas came from Job’s well meaning friends.  By the time they got through with Job, he needed a lesson or two from God.  In the last few chapters of the book, God gives him those lessons in spades and shows him who He really is.  In the end, Job comes out with more than he started with.  He didn’t have the same things or love ones which had been lost before, but he had a better handle on the Big Picture.  He had been humbled and corrected by God.  He couldn’t have had a better instructor.

            Look up 2 Corinthians 4:8-18 and study Paul’s attitude.  Here was a man who had persecuted Christians in his past.  God chose him, of all people, to preach the Gospel.  In doing so, Paul had been stoned nearly to death once, beaten, imprisoned, and shipwrecked.  Yet, he knew God had His hand on him.  God had a purpose and high calling for him.  Paul saw the Big Picture and knew that what we go through in this life won’t compare to how wonderful eternal life will be one day.  He wasn’t in denial about how bad this life can be at all.  He wasn’t hoping for “pie in the sky.”  He knew the Scriptures and had faith in what’s real.

            You and I can trust Paul’s words in Romans 8:28:  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  It’s a verse that may be overused and tossed out flippantly by some, but it wasn’t meant that way.  Paul knew what he was talking about.  What’s more, if you read the next few verses, you’ll se that God wants His own to become like Christ.  If you read to the end of the chapter, you see that nothing can separate us from God’s love.  Praise God for such assurance, since life isn’t that carefree walk in the park.

 

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Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Thoughts from John

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