Category Archives: John

When The Going Gets Tough . . .

Sometimes things are overwhelming.  I’m am not talking about a busy schedule; I am talking about those things that happen when it seems like hope is lost. These moments are hard, and we tend to ask the question, “where is God?”  There is a simple answer to this question – He is right there with you.

We need look no farther than the account of Joseph in Genesis.  At times, things were pretty rough and overwhelming in Joseph’s life.  Where was God when Joseph’s brothers threw him into the pit?  Where was God when Joseph was sold into slavery?  Where was he when Joseph was falsely accused of an attempted rape?  Where was God as Joseph was innocently thrown in prison and then forgotten about?  Where was God?  Acts 7:9 tells us, “And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him.”

We live in a Genesis 3 world.  This means that everything around us is corrupted and tarnished by sin.  Evil takes place all around us because mankind rebels against the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, God.  Jesus told the disciples that they would have trouble in this world, but they were not to fear because he had overcome the world (John 16:33).

Are things overwhelming?  I want to encourage you to have hope.  I am not speaking of hope as if it is wishful thinking; I am talking about an anticipated certainty.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18 tells us, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Don’t lose heart.  I cannot promise you that your current situation will change, but I can promise you that if you lean into God and the truth of his love you will find hope.  This is because our momentary affliction is nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits us.  Our circumstances do not change God’s love and purpose for our lives. We trust in God’s plan and we faithfully proclaim with Joseph that what is meant for evil, God intends for good (Gen. 50:30).

Our hope is in the Lord.  By the work of the Holy Spirit, through the redemption of Christ, God is bringing us to a place where his presence will be uninterrupted by sin.  Don’t let the current circumstances lose sight of your hope in Christ.  Remember that God is with you, even when you don’t see Him or feel Him.


When in Doubt . . .

Have you ever had doubts?  I know there are many things in life that are accompanied by doubt.  “Will I be or am I a good parent?”  “Does ______ really love me?”  “Is this the job opportunity I am supposed to take?”  “Did I make the right decision?”  These are all doubts that most of us understand.  They all seem to revolve around major decisions in life.  Most churches reach out to people in times of these struggles hoping to direct them to seek God.  We are comfortable with these types of doubt.

However, it seems that when it comes to doubts about the faith, we may criticize some for their struggles or tell them they just need to have more faith.  It reminds me of the way we treat Thomas, the disciple.  You have heard of him, but probably by the name of doubting Thomas.  In John 20:25 he makes a statement that follows him into the current day, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”  That one statement of doubt branded him for life.

I want to share one other passage where Thomas is mentioned and makes a profound statement of faithful devotion.  In John 11, Jesus gets word that Lazarus has died.  In order to travel back to see the family, and ultimately bring Lazarus back to life, Jesus has to return to Judea where the Jews want to kill Jesus.  The disciples did not want him to go.   However, in this familiar account we have an unfamiliar statement made by Thomas, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”  What a faithful statement by the man known as doubting Thomas.

Everyone has doubts, even the faithful.  In fact, doubts can show a spiritual struggle that gives birth to greater faith.  It is okay to have questions and it is okay to ask them.  Faithful Thomas doubted the resurrection of Christ and many faithful Christians have doubts about their faith, the Bible, God, and the church at times.  I want to encourage you to keep the faith and seek God for the answers.

You may never find answers to some of your questions and there may be things you have to accept by faith and faith alone.  This is a reality, but if you seek God and look in the right places, many of the questions that have been avoided by some in the church, have been answered by others.  Keep searching, keep asking, and keep wanting to know more.

This post was published in The Monitor of Naples, Texas on 7/12/16.

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Posted by on July 18, 2016 in John, Monitor Articles