Monday, July 25, 2016

This Too Will Be For Good

When I was a freshman in college, I experienced the typical reaction to the first week of classes - often called "syllabus shock" - how would I ever be able to muster the time and mental resources to complete this enormous load of assignments just presented to me? Stressed and anxious, I took the matter to the Lord, praying for help. The truth that he opened to my fretful heart in those first weeks was that though I had trusted him for my financial needs, I had not learned to trust him for those less tangible matters of energy and time, yet these were just as much in his power to provide as the other. I was enabled to begin trusting that these too would be given to me for the asking - and they were.

This lesson often pictures to me what it is like to face a new lesson of faith. I must learn to trust my God in all things, and not just in the places where I have grown familiar with seeing His hand. I think this is a lesson that I and many of my fellow believers will have to learn as we look at our nation and are tempted to despair. 

I wonder how many of us are thinking something like, "Well, I know God is in charge, but this is going to be terrible"? Having a bad president may be terrible, but a dozen other things one may meet in this fallen world may terrible, while "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" This ugly scary state of things is the very place for us to firmly believe that God is good to His people. Do I believe that "In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose" is more deep and solid than our nation's foundations? Do I believe that if the nation falls into the hands of unprincipled tyrants, despite all we can do as faithful citizens, it is just a new step in the lessons of faith our Father has for us between here and Heaven? 

There is a pervasive sense that we are entering bad times in our country. Maybe this is true. But I think there is a place for a bolder faith that can look straight in the face of the dreadful political reports and sing - 

"Ye fearful saints fresh courage take
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessing on your head!"

Yes, our God is "He who disciplines the nations" (Psalm 94:10 ESV), which is a fearful thing for America. But God has also promised His children regarding the painful discipline they undergo (surely even if they must pass through the discipline of their nation at large) - "later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Heb 12:11 ESV). For a nation it may be judgment, but for the believers in it, it may be a wholesome training with sweet fruit. This is a good thing.

So here's to faith in 2016 - faith that God's promises are better than the U. S. Constitution, and more sure and everlasting - faith that loving and obeying God will still be the path of ultimate blessing for His children, whether or not God blesses America nationally. Faith is God's great gift to us on the way to Heaven - and that is our better country.

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