Tuesday, June 3, 2008

In The Face Of Adversity...

"Look at all my trials and tribulations,
Sinking in a gentle pool of wine..."
- Apostles (Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice' Jesus Christ Superstar)

In the musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, the apostles sing the verse carefree, thinking more of themselves and how they'll go down in history ("So they'll still talk about us when we've died.") than appreciating the final hours they have with Jesus. However, those first two lines, if broken away from the rest of the song and studied from different point of view, bear a lot of truth and weight.

Think about it. Think of all your "trials and tribulations". Imagine them sinking away into a cup of wine and disappearing from your life. That's what Jesus wanted for us. His blood, the wine we drink, was spilt to drown our sin and remove our troubles. Jesus died to save us. When He died on the cross at Calvary, our transgressions were forgiven and a living sanctuary was placed upon us by the Father through the Son. And in by this living sanctuary we are protected from all worldly trials and troubles. Is He not the Saviour?

Everyday, new challenges arise to meet you. Everyday, the inevitable imperfection of the day will slip through and challenge you, whether big or small, major or minor, musical or irrelevant, something will come by. And in these times of trouble, God is there for you. Building you through these trials, strengthening you for the future.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
- James 1:2-3

God calls us to persevere, face the troubles with the joyous realization that it is through these challenges that we grow and prepare ourselves for the larger troubles that will hound us. And so is it not right for me to say, "We should be happy when we get in trouble"? No! Definitely do not go about being the mischievous child, looking for trouble to make life exciting! What the verse means is to face all the challenges of life joyous in the presence of God and knowledge that He will take us through all troubles, hopeful and patient in the face of adversity.

"You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in saftey."
- Job 11:18

For when you have hope, you have the faith and firm conviction that says, "My God is with me, my Saviour, my Healer, who will watch over me and protect me from harm." Jesus is there, always watching over you. Be comforted.

And where else would you first seek comfort than in prayer and worship?

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
- 1 Peter 5:7

And for your constant strength, the solid foundation to build your defense, the Holy Word of God is unwavering, immovable.

"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that may be successful wherever you go."
- Joshua 1:7

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
- Romans 15:4

The Bible is not a set of rules. God is not a tyrannical dictator. The Bible guides and encourages. God protects and builds us up. Think again of your "trials and tribulations". If any of them seem to great for you, as I'm sure many will seem, know that all of this can be overcome:

"For nothing is impossible with God"
- Luke 1:37

Through God, you will find that indeed, the challenges you face sink in that gentle pool of wine that is the blood of Jesus Christ. Then, what emerges is joy, peace, hope, perseverance and character. Again, trials are not to bring you down but to build you up. The ultimate trial was the lead-up to Jesus' crucifixion. He was alone, condemned, forsaken, flogged, insulted and rejected. Yet this greatest trial was the greatest victory to impact humanity. And it emerged from that "gentle pool of wine". How Jesus suffered. However you might suffer, know that now you have a Saviour watching over you. It might seem hard:

But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.
- 1 Peter 4:13

Just trust in God to deliver you from your challenges and meanwhile, rejoice that you are being built up. You will be delivered. You will be matured. You will have persevered as the Lord gives you strength.

As for me, I'll go toddling along knowing that Jesus is with me and that:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
- Hebrews 13:8

May you be encouraged and strengthened. I pray for you and wish you all the best.

May you find the peace of God in your life.