Last week I talked to a long-time friend at work. She mentioned the anxiety and worry many were feeling about significant organizational changes in our workplace, two major hurricanes (Harvey and Irma), the recent death of the daughter of a teammate, but most of all the terrible murder/suicide that involved two people who I knew and worked with. This tragic news stunned and saddened our workplace and community. Feeling weighed down, she said, “we sure could use a little good news”.
Life is hard and there are times when it seems like there are more bad things happening than at other times. I felt that way earlier this year as I thought about a number of recent losses in my life. Read my article “Encouragement in the Midst of Loss”. We worry about many things, such as our vocations (jobs), health (ours and others we care for), relationships, finances, the spiritual lives of those we care about, etc. In addition, many families, including ours, have been shattered by the suicide of a loved one.
Last year, as I looked back in the rearview mirror at certain key events in my life and my wife Tammy’s life, I saw how the Holy Spirit has used terrible, difficult and painful experiences for good toward our journey in being conformed to His image. Read my article “Looking Back at Life Through the Lens of Romans 8:28”. I believe that we may not know all of the reasons why some things happen to us in this lifetime, but we can rest in knowing God is using them for our good and His glory.
I’m writing on a Sunday afternoon after hearing a wonderful sermon from my pastor entitled “God is Glorified in Afflictions”. It was the beginning of a new series on 2 Corinthians. Chapter one of the book addresses how affliction among Christians is redemptive when we don’t waste it. That’s an interesting concept that you may not have thought of. The entire sermon is worth listening to. You can check it out here: http://christchurchpca.org/sermons
So in the midst of your worries and suffering, listen to the words of Jesus from John 16:33 ~ “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and frustration and suffering, but take courage [be confident and certain, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]
The ultimate good news we all need is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. About the Gospel, R.C. Sproul writes:
“The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it–or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well-being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.”
I’ll let R.C. Sproul have the final words of good news:
“The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.”
When you put your full trust in Jesus Christ, will you experience less suffering? No. But He has promised that your suffering will not be in vain, and He will give you eternal Hope! He is faithful to give you His courage, strength, comfort and peace as He walks difficult roads alongside you. I would appreciate any thoughts you have. Blessings to you, and thanks for reading.