Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Things don't always resolve in life, but life can have memorable scenes!

I am an optimist by nature. I am one of those people that will believe a baseball team down six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning can still come back and win the game. I am a positive person period. So when I read Donald Miller’s most recent book “A Million Miles In A Thousand Years” I was a bit taken aback by one particular chapter in the book, entitled “Why God Hasn’t Fixed You Yet.”

In this chapter Miller writes about how he believes God is not going to fix everything in our lives. We will never ultimately see every issue we have had in our lives resolve before we die. This was a bit depressing for me to take in as a die-hard optimist. I wondered, was there scripture that could back up such a bold statement?

As I searched the Bible I found that yes indeed there is some Biblical backing for a bold statement such as this. In fact, some of the things I had discovered were things I already knew about, but had never thought of in this light before. One example would be the fact that the book of Acts tells us Paul and Barnabas had a fight over where to go share the Gospel next and ultimately split up because they couldn’t agree (Acts 15:39). As far as we know they never reconciled, at least not here on earth.

Another example would be the Apostle Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” that he discusses in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. He mentions that he prayed that the Lord would take it away three times and each time God told him “My Grace is sufficient for you.” Paul never tells us that there was a time when God did take away whatever the ‘thorn’ was. Whatever it was it certainly was unpleasant for Paul to deal with, but for whatever reason God didn’t heal him. This ultimately leads Paul to state in verse 10 that sometimes in life we need to, like him, be ‘content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.”

Well I don’t know about you but I would consider unresolved things in my life to at times fall under the category of ‘hardships’ and ‘calamities’ and yet Paul tells us to be content with these things. Paul also says in Philippians 3:20-21a that ‘we are citizens of Heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as savior. He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own.” See, conflicts and unresolved issues in our lives are a result of sin, and since we are still living in this fallen world, they will never completely go away in this life, while we are still living in our earthly bodies. However, one day when Jesus returns we will have new bodies, and arrive in our eternal home of Heaven, where sin will no longer exist.

While not a whole lot is written in the Bible about the details of what Heaven will be like, Jesus told us in Matthew 8:11 that there will be feast and that people like Old Testament heroes such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be there. That sounds exiting to me, as I enjoy eating and fellowship with Godly people very much! However, while we are still in this life in this world, Jesus Himself also warned us that we would have trouble, but he would leave us with His peace (John 16:33).

I have decided that when issues arise in my life from here on out, as long as I do everything in my power to resolve an issue I may have with another person, God will not hold it against me if the other person refuses to want to work things out. I can then cling to the peace Jesus describes there in John 16.

I conclude this by going back to the book I mentioned in the beginning. Donald Miller in the very next chapter entitled “Great Stories Have Memorable Scenes” brings hope and optimism back into his book, as he describes how as songwriter Mike Stand once wrote “great things happen in this world.” He talks about how in movies, there are often memorable scenes that take place at times in weird locations or at weird points in the plot that you may not expect. Life is often this way as well.

Think about your own life for a second. Aren’t there some pretty memorable scenes in it? Perhaps the night you first laid eyes on that special girl you are now dating stays with you. Maybe the day when you were 12 years old and you got the game winning hit in your summer softball league is a moment you will never forget! Perhaps the moment you drove off the lot after buying your first car is forever immortalized in your mind as it you remember the way the sun shone in your review mirror and the car that was in front of you as you drove off to great the day.

The Bible is full of some amazing moments that I’m sure those that witnessed them never forget. Two examples that have always stood out to me are Samson killing 1000 Phillistines with a Jawbone in Judges 15, and Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11. Can you imagine the awe and wonder that people must have felt when Lazarus walked out of the time when Jesus called out to him? How about the utter amazement the Israelites must have felt and seeing Samson waylay on the brutal Philistine army like that?

Whatever, moments are special to you they are just that, special. They often aren’t of any monetary value at all. They are life’s simple pleasures. I think that is why we are told to be content as long as we have enough food and clothing (1 Timothy 6:8). God ultimately wants us to obey His commands and love one another to the best of our abilities, and extends us Grace when we fail to do so; until one day when we will no longer be alive, and instead be in His presence for eternity. Until that day though, enjoy as many special moments as you can, seek forgiveness from the Lord and others when you fail them, and be content with all He has given you!

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