Sunday, January 13, 2008
The Highs and Lows of Faith part 1
Jeff Jackson (Ministry Intern, and my husband)
Jeff talked about the reality of unanswered prayer - how sometimes, as for David when he prayed desperately for the life of Bathsheba's first son, God doesn't release us from a terrible situation. Sometimes we really are suffering horrendously and at other times it just seems like we are on the brink of death and God is not responding to our prayers. Often as Christians we can feel guilty about such reactions, feeling bad about feeling bad. We pray for a bad situation to end, and it doesn't. We have to stay in the horrible job, we cannot fix a broken relationship, we stay sick. Psalm 13 gives us evidence that it's natural to feel frustrated by situations like this.
But we shouldn't remain in this state of desperation forever. We need to remind ourselves of God's great love for us, His previous goodness to us and most of all of His gift of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. When we celebrate the baptism of a fellow Christian, we are reminded of this gift of salvation that has been given to us, regardless of our earthly circumstances, and we can rejoice. We are also often reminded of God's goodness to us when we meet together as a congregation each Sunday and hear what God has done in the lives of His people through the week.
We had five baptisms today, so our sermon was much shorter than it usually is. Jeff had to condense his talk into about 10mins, so he didn't go into much depth. However, this sermon followed hard on the heals of my reading 2 Timothy 1, with its encouragement to be unashamed of the gospel even though it is for the gospel's sake that Paul was suffering in chains. Together, these two passages remind me that God is sovereign despite what we see in the short term of our present situation. God is good, and He has our eternal good in mind when He permits our suffering. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:28-30, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified."