Monday, March 12, 2012

Life Lessons

There is nothing too surprising about me showing up to worship God on any given Sunday. Sure, I've made the choice to be there. I may have overcome some shade of laziness or complacency, but I have every reason in the world to be there: my parents and siblings are also Christians, and I've been singing the books of the New Testament song since I was 3. I've been putting "the sticker on my attendance chart" for as long as I can remember. I've grown up with a very comfortable life (my own bedroom! central A/C! trees to climb!), living in a prosperous nation with religious freedom and the resources of technology. I've had a Bible-based college education and a Godly husband working by my side. I have absolutely no excuse to be anything less than what God calls me to be.

But then I meet people who have everything going against them, who by all odds should not have made it this far: people who have hard lives and small apartments and messy relationships and are victims of all sorts of injustices; people who have grown up with no spiritually mature role models and who have never had a father or brother figure (or any kind of man) in their lives; who have developed years of bad habits and been emotionally drug through the muddiest of fields; who have witnessed violent crimes and harassment and abuse...

And yet here they are sitting next to me in church, their very presence a victory. Here they are sitting at my kitchen table, their lives a testimony to the God of all grace. Here they are praying with me over a cup of coffee, their experiences shaming and humbling me for complaining about lesser things.

When the odds are all stacked against them, and yet year after year, here they are... and here they stay... I realize I should not doubt the power of God to transform lives. I've seen it far too personally to question. To Him belong the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty (1 Chron. 29:11).

When we serve a victorious Savior, who has conquered death and sin, let us not be surprised when we see our brothers and sisters rise up as victors, too. Let us rejoice in their victories, raising up their hands in battle and praying for them fervently--praying to the One who walks on water and whose name is God Almighty.

Our world can be such a dark, miserable, breeding ground for sin and its consequences. And far too many souls are placed right in the middle of this wickedness. Jesus said that "In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). And because Jesus has overcome this world, He gives us hope of doing the same. No life is so far from goodness that He cannot save; no heart so broken that He cannot restore. "The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, swindlers... such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 
(1 Cor. 15:57)