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Praying For Adversity

calmonbenchThere was a quote at church a few weeks back that keeps popping up in my thoughts. I’m probably butchering its original eloquence but it was something to the effect of “If you knew what God knows, you would have requested the all the adversity in your life.”

The Bible is full of verses explaining that God is omniscient, has a perfect plan for each of us and everything he does is what is best for us.

  • Romans 8:28: “We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love, who have been called according to his purpose.”
  • Romans 5:3-4: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
  • James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

The list goes on and on, but it follows that if we had all that same knowledge as God, the logical best course of action would be whatever “terrible” thing that is bothering us right now. Of course we don’t have that omniscience so we can’t see the logic and intention behind it, but we trust that it’s there.

As Christians, we know all that, but I love how easily it is summed up as: “If you knew what God knows, you’d be praying for this.”

Easter vs. Christmas

emptytombAs we drove to church on Easter morning, I thought about how different it was than Christmas morning. Many of the stores were still open and traffic was about average for a Sunday morning. Almost nobody had been taking vacation at work the previous week and only parents with kids on spring break were taking the following week off. I bet a large part of the population didn’t even know it was Easter.

As a Christian, it’s hard to decide whether Easter or Christmas is a bigger holiday. Both are critical to my future. I suspect that a lot more people understand the importance of Christmas than Easter. A couple years ago, I wrote an explanation of what Christmas means for the Christian. Today I’ll do the same thing for Easter. If you’ve ever been a little curious why we get excited about this holiday, here’s your chance to find out.

At Christmas we celebrate the almighty God coming to earth as a human. That in itself is pretty impressive, but if that’s all it was, we’d all still be in a bad spot. That’s because every one of us is sinful. We’ve all broken God’s law at least once (more like millions of times) and God demands perfection to enter heaven. So on our own, the only fate for us at death is eternal damnation in hell. But that’s where Easter comes into play.

Jesus didn’t just hang around on the earth for a while to sight see. He was here to live a perfect life and take the punishment for ALL of us. His death, which we remember on Good Friday, wasn’t just one man dying. It was God punishing His only Son for our sin. But it doesn’t end there. On Easter morning, Jesus rose from the dead proclaiming his power over death and the devil.

Without the death and resurrection of Jesus and without our faith that it happened, when we die, we would be judged by our own track record. We’re all sinful so we’d all be condemned to hell. But because Jesus did die and rise. Those who believe will not be judged on their own record. Instead, Jesus steps in and points out that he paid the price for our sins so God the Father counts us as blameless and we enter heaven for eternity.

So THAT is why Christians are so excited about Easter. We should be this excited every day of the year, but Easter is an extra special reminder of the incredible gift that we have been given.

P.S. I’m turning off comments on this post because I’m not looking to start a public discussion, but if you want to know more about what I believe, you can of course ask me or check out this website from our church group. I also left out specific Bible references to keep this short and approachable, but I’m happy to provide passages to back up everything written here.

P.P.S. If you want to hear Pastor talk about this more in his sermon from this past Easter service, you can view it on YouTube.