October 16, 2010

To Live is Christ —trusting

My devotional book calls today’s entry “The Good, the Bad, the Meaningless” which covers the spectrum of life experiences to which I can apply these favorite verses:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28–29)
It seems to me that what seems “bad” has the most potential to change my life. At least the “bad” events turn my mind toward God more quickly than most other circumstances. When I feel alone, or helpless, or upset, or something that I don’t like, I call out to God for the why of it. He always reveals that He wants me to be like Jesus and this “bad” situation is a perfect opportunity to practice godly responses.

But what about the “good” times, when life is comfortable and nothing seems negative or hitting me with unpleasantness? How can I be like Jesus then? Didn’t He have “good” days? Maybe not. I’ve read the New Testament many times, and can think of only a few situations in His life when He experienced “good” and that for only part of a day. The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus perfected obedience through the things that He suffered, so that could explain why all the negatives in His life. 

Yet He must have had “good” days, and if so, what did He do with them? Or maybe the Bible writers simply didn’t record days where Jesus had His feet up and no one was hassling Him. Or maybe there were no days like that. After all, He didn’t come here for His own pleasure.

I’m not into inflicting pain on myself or searching for trouble just so my experiences match up with Jesus. However, this is making me think about what I do with my discretionary time. I can be extremely self-indulgent. I don’t think that conforms to His image.

Jesus was very busy from what I read, yet He did take time to pray and rest. He even fell asleep on a boat in a storm. I know He didn’t watch television, but did He sit around a campfire and swap stories with His friends? Did He have a hobby? Did He play games? Maybe like to cook? How can I be more like Him in my “spare” time? Or should I have any? I’ve lots to learn.

Then there are events which could be called meaningless. For instance, I’ve discovered that a pair of my shoes are missing. It isn’t the end of the world, but they were far from worn out and one of the few pair I have that fit my oddly narrow feet. I’ve not traveled anywhere with them in a suitcase, and so far cannot find them in the normal places for shoes. If they never show up, this could be classified as an insignificant event.

Yet these verses tell me that God uses “all” things for my good. How can I become more like Jesus because of some lost shoes? He had a parable about lost sheep, but I don’t think turning this into an object lesson will make me more like Him. I have to conclude that unless He specifically shows me, I’ve no idea what God expects from me in this issue — one more that falls into that category of “all” things.

A Bible verse says, “Great is the mystery of godliness . . .” and while it is talking about the deity and incarnation of Jesus Christ, the phrase comes to mind regarding Christian living. At times it is also a mystery. Often I do not know what God is up to or why. It is a good thing that He doesn’t demand comprehension or I would be in trouble. Because He is God, I can never fully figure out what He is doing. Yet He does ask for faith, and because He is God, I can trust Him with all things — the bad, but also the good, and even the meaningless.

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