An old friend and schoolmate recently passed away, after a long and brave fight with a very serious illness. She would have turned 40 this July.
She was very open about her illness; using FaceBook as her primary medium. She shared her struggles with the illness, and other very personal aspects of her life such as a failed marriage and incidents of some friends and family members turning away from her with stories, experiences, encounters and very graphic photographs. And for all the criticism that she received for being that “open” about her life: the good, the bad and the ugly: she never wavered. She consistently put herself out there. But, in addition to the front row seats that she gave everyone concerning her personal struggles, she was also very open, upfront and extremely unapologetic about a very important aspect of her life: her faith in God.
She often expressed in her Facebook posts that people would comment negatively about how every other word out of her mouth was “Jesus, Jesus” all the time. She in turn would ask those people why should she not profess the name of the only One, who in light of the physical ordeals that she was facing, still gave her something to look forward to; still give her something to draw strength from; still give her something that put a peace in her heart that no husband, parent, friend or doctor could. Why would she not use every living breath to proclaim His name and His goodness and mercy upon her life?
A lot of us run to God when the going gets rough. But we run away when it seems that despite our being with Him, things don’t seem to be improving. I’m certain that a lot of people must have said “all this God that she’s proclaiming, yet, she remains ill…”
If you are of that mindset that only easy things come to the believer, then you have sorely missed the mark. Christ suffered to open the way of salvation for us, therefore EVERY BELIEVER will suffer in one way or another.
I’m not saying that everyone will suffer illness, or imprisonment or some tortuous act, I’m saying, as the bible explicitly states that :
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:13
In other words, what you claim to be your foundation; what you claim to be your faith; will be tested!
It could be tested by your spouse or significant other, by your friends, by your family, by decisions that you will be faced with, by situations that will confront you, by things in the open, by things behind closed doors, etc. But we will all face that test. Most likely more than once in our lifetime, and if we are still worried about whether people believe that we say “Jesus, Jesus” too much, then we need to brace ourselves, because we will be in for a very rude awakening.
Philippians 2:12 says: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Get to know Jesus for yourself!
Open your bible & look into these promises that God has made on your behalf and ask Him to show you how you can walk in them.
We can go on for days criticizing pastors that buy jets and engage in practices that we are disapproving of, but don’t make that your obsession because at the end of the day, that pastor has God to answer to, and guess what? So do you!
So work out YOUR salvation. Get on the Jesus bandwagon. Not so that you can speak Christianese, or have the ability spew bible verses from memory. But that you may understand the difference between knowing about Jesus Christ, and knowing Jesus Christ.
I don’t know what my friend’s faults and shortcomings may have been. As with anyone else, she was human and I am certain, imperfect. But what I do know is that her bravery during her illness; her unwavering devotion to God during her illness; brought ME a little closer to Him. She showed me a true to life example of “ But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”(2 Timothy 4:5). She made me come to the realization that if someone who is going through so many things that to the world are considered awful, yet, she evangelizes for Christ the way that she does, what excuse could I, who by His divine grace has not had to suffer anything even remotely close to that, possibly have?
Deuteronomy 4:29 says:
“But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”
We aren’t promised tomorrow, brethren, so let us seek the Lord today. Let us desire to deepen and strengthen our existing relationship with Him today. Christ has never turned down anyone that has opened their heart to Him and invited Him in.
Now unto him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Share your thoughts that you might encourage your brethren.
The handmaid at His feet