I was once in a church where it was taboo to say anything negative. If you had hardships you were likely cursed, if you weren’t prospering, likely you weren’t praying, fasting, doing something right. The other idea was either their was generational, or personal sin in your life.
I remember the first Sunday we left that church. I stood in worship, and heard a song about us all being broken, sin, and forgiveness.
The words, “Laying our crown before you”, gripped me, and tears started streaming. I then realized how much pride had unknowingly snuck into my life deceiving me into believing, that if I was good, or spiritual enough, if I repented often, and was careful to walk the balance of a “good person” long enough…I could somehow control my destiny.
What I had forgotten was what scripture tells me. “It rains on the just and the unjust.” (Matt 5:45)
I had remember the part in the Bible about good works and striving, but had forgotten that there were people like Paul who had a thorn in his flesh, that no prayer or repenting could rid from his life, and the story of Job who didn’t deserve it, but randomly just had everything in his life taken away, as a test (sort of) to see where his heart lay.
I felt like Job standing, stripped from pride, position, the notion that I had anything good to offer God. I was reminded I was a sinner that day, saved not by good works, but grace and His mercy.
In the weeks to come, I learned how much my prior church had been like New Age teaching, that says we can “control” our world by the power of positive thinking.
I also learned that even the followers of Jesus in His day, assumed every bad thing was caused by their own or parents doing. “Teacher, whose sin caused this man to be born blind—his own sin or his parents’ sin?” (John 9)
But, Jesus said, “the man was born blind so that God’s power can be shown in him.” (John 9:3)
Power coming through blindness? Weakness showing itself so that His strength could be made sufficient? Empty vessels willingly pouring out His goodness.
Little by little, I devoured scripture’s to learn the truth of the Gospel….Bad things happen to good people, God allows suffering to reveal His purposes, life can be hard, but simotaneously glorious and beautiful.
Maybe your going through a hard time? Maybe you have struggled with guilt due to a situation in your life? Maybe you have bought into the lies that a true Christ follower should never have hardships?
Well, friends, let me assure you, regardless of whether your having a Job, or Simeon experience, when we surrender, give in, and lay whatever it is we are facing a the cross, His mercy is sufficient. Faith can rise, and beauty truly can be found amidst ashes.
If you are struggling to overcome, here are some Rich Faith Rising posts you might find encouraging: