Make me feel better quickly!

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Yesterday was not one of those AAA days in my life.  The ‘stuff’ of life got to me.  In spite of doing a chapel for our Christian academy on joy, I was anything but joyful. “Why me?” I whined.  In truth, the ‘hard’ is real. Am I unique? No, I am not. I am part of a broken world, caught up in the ongoing struggle of good and evil- in me, in others. There is some ‘wonderful’ and there is some ugly. There are, in the words of Solomon, times to dance and times to mourn. Like most people, I usually want to find instant resolution, quick relief!  Sometimes my emotions outrun my understanding, temporarily!

Dr. Larry Crabb, Christian author and counselor, writes about a session with a man who opened with this request, “Make me feel better quickly!”  Crabb replied, “Get a case of your favorite alcoholic beverage, a compliant woman, and take a trip to the Bahamas.”  The man was shocked and asked, “Are you sure you’re a Christian?”  Crabb replied, “I am, but what you asked of me requires something less than Christ will provide.”  He went to explain that ‘feeling better quickly,’ while often the goal of many, is not the promise of Jesus.  Becoming mature through Him demands whole-hearted commitment and willingness to do the work that leads to real healing.  Of course, Crabb observed that his prescription for alcohol, women, and a vacation does not really provide lasting satisfaction either, but it does produce temporary happiness.  (told in Inside Out, NavPress, 1988) That story makes me laugh and cringe, too!

Here is the question-  Am I willing to go the distance with Jesus?  Will I, by faith, keep the promise of becoming amazing eternal beings with glorious splendor in sight on the long days when part of me yearns for nothing but relief?  The life I really desire, and that God purposes for me, will elude me if I choose to chase quick fixes and easy answers.  One of my heroes is Paul, a man judged a failure by many of his contemporaries, whose life was often difficult. The Spirit inspired him to give us this wisdom: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NIV)

The true glory of Jesus is not in the miracles of feeding thousands, raising Lazarus, or hugging little children lovingly. We make much of those stories because they appeal to us.  They are lovely stories, but the BIG STORY is not revealed until the last chapters of the Gospel- in the suffering of the Cross and the miracle of the Resurrection.  “Because I live, you will live also,” He promised and then He proved it. That is why the Bible calls on us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2-3, NIV)

This morning, I am praying through this question- what is my expectation of Christ Jesus?  Am I hoping that He will give me wealth, make children more ‘successful,’  exempt me from the hard things from my life, and provide perpetual comfort and happiness?  Do I want the promise of Heaven secured by Him without the difficulties of discipleship?  If that’s what I am looking for,  I will never find real and lasting joy. Why? The calling involves dying to Self and living to Christ. The pathway is, in Jesus’ words, a narrow one and few find it. “Lord, lead me to life. Keep me faithful!”

Here is an amazing word from the Word.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4, NIV)

“Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10, NIV)

___________

My Hope Is In The Lord

I can’t help but feel a little down
A little worried when I look around
That’s why my hope is in
My hope is in the Lord

I fix my eyes upon the God who gives
‘Cause all I need is what I have in him
That’s why my hope is in
My hope is in the Lord

My hope is in the Lord
I belong to him
He will never let me go-oh-oh-oh
My hope is in the Lord
I can count on him
My hope is in the Lord

Jay Stocker © 2016 Group Publishing, Inc.

CCLI License # 810055

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