This is post #30 of a series entitled Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace. We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here you’ll find very practical and biblically-sound advice on building bridges instead of walls, offering hope instead of despair. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Click on the link below to listen to the podcast version of this blog!
Truth #10: Peacemakers Keep Going Despite the Resistance.
Today’s Lectio Divina: God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. Hebrews 12: 7-11 (MsgB)
Last time, we explored the relentless warfare that can be released against us, as we continue to keep showing up with Jesus in our assignment as peacemakers for the cause of Christ. At times, the battle for good will be so severe, we’ll be tempted to throw in the towel.
The writer of Hebrews addressed this temptation to quit, reminding us that when bad things happen to good people, it’s easy to begin twisting our theology (our view of God), believing that God is somehow punishing us, or worse yet, that He’s walked away from us, leaving us in the lurch to defend ourselves from all the warfare surrounding God’s work of peace.
Some have called this season, the dark night of the soul. Others call it hitting the wall. St. Ignatius defined this life experience as a season of desolation.
Regardless of what terminology we place on these seasons of darkness, it sucks. (Sorry for my language, but I feel it necessary to be a bit crass here, in order to be completely honest with you). But, just as the writer of Hebrews explains, it’s vital for us, in times of desolation, to not believe the common lie that we’ve done something wrong here and that’s why God is punishing us or has walked away.
In truth, many times these difficult seasons of life appear, not because we’ve done something wrong, but because we are actually doing something right as we continue our journey on the road with Jesus!
Paul, actually identified with this scenario when he prayed…
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3: 10 (NIV)
Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, the scriptures show us that all of God’s people will experience, at times, these difficult seasons. Lamentation, a prayer for help coming out of pain, is very common in the Bible. Over one third of the Psalms are laments. Lament frequently occurs in the Book of Job: “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” (Job 3: 11). The prophets likewise cry out to God, such as Jeremiah does: “Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable?” (Jeremiah 15: 18) and Habakkuk: “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.” (Habakkuk 3: 16). One whole book, Lamentations, expresses the confusion and suffering felt after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
We find a very similar theme in the New Testament as well. People who are afflicted cry out to Jesus for help. Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, shouts out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10: 47). Jesus Himself laments to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Abba Father, everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14: 36). In His agony on the cross, Jesus makes His own the words of Psalm 22: 1, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27: 46)
The writer of Hebrews calls all this pain, not a punishment or separation from God, but a season of learning, a time when God is educating us.
Now, mind you, most of us want only short course work in this type of education, and for me, I often ask Jesus if I could do this work on-line instead of in person.
But here’s the truth.
The work of making peace on earth, for the cause of Christ, is not an easy task. Actually, if it were easy, everybody would be doing it!
So, in this westernized world we live in, where most everything we own is designed to remove inconvenience, reduce stress, or eliminate discomfort, might it be that our loving God, our trainer and educator, is desiring us to put on our big-boy or big-girl pants, take a deep breath, and keep on keepin’ on in this hard work of peacemaking? Because in truth, it is a battle and God just might be looking for a few modern-day heroes He can count on come hell or high-water?
Oh, and BTW, don’t forget these challenging yet promising words given to us by the Master:
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re Kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5: 48 (MsgB)
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20 (NIV)
My Prayer: Father God, forgive me when I misinterpret Your work in me, believing that You are punishing me, or that You’ve left me; when in truth, You are simply treating me as a precious child, giving me ample opportunity to learn and discern. Holy Spirit, keep me from dropping out when the pressure is too intense for me to handle. Encourage me, comfort me, reassure me of the truth that Jesus, my Lord and Savior, will never leave me or forsake me. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
A Few Questions to Ponder: So what desolation or darkness is occurring in and around me today? Am I willing to step back from the fray, be quiet, allowing the Holy Trinity to lead and guide me through this difficult season? Do I trust God’s promises? Do I believe Jesus is there? Am I willing to risk that the Holy Spirit is near me and in me, empowering me to keep going, despite the hardships I might be facing?
So, how are you experiencing God’s presence as you are becoming a peacemaker for the cause of Christ?
Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace.
We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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