Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)
I hoped that being a Christian might save me from living in a marred world. Insofar as I have the direction, peace, and protection of God, it is true. Yet insofar as bad things happen, it is false. This at times can seem a bit of an insult, as when a friend of mine was murdered or a colleague at work committed suicide.
Unsuspectingly, I soak up the world on my way to glory; I become captivated by its unwanted attentions and temptations, and fail. Yet, I am called not to withdraw from life, nor to pass by on the other side of the road and avert my gaze. I am to be whom God has made me: fragile, fallible, and dependent on Him in the mess and muck of life, but not sucked in by it.
Jesus incarnate lived, ate, and breathed in the midst of the mire of this world. Jesus ate with sinners. He experienced the full range of emotional pain and suffering, including His betrayal by Judas. So failure comes as no surprise to Jesus, because He has seen it all before.
Yet the failings of life in a fallen world are not the whole story, because I also succeed. Like Zacchaeus, I rejoice in being accepted as a follower of Christ.
Jesus commissioned His disciples to go into the surrounding countryside and heal the sick, deliver people from evil, and most of all, to proclaim the coming kingdom of God. How excited they were about the events they had experienced! On their return, Jesus reminded them of a more important issue:
Luke 10:20 – Rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (ESV)
Without our names written in the Book of Life, all the rest counts for nothing — then and now!
Prayer: Lord, before we go out into the world once more today, grant us Your focus on what is important to You. Give us Your vision to see how we can bring Your kingdom's light to bear on our hearts and on where we are. Amen.