Sunday, April 13, 2014

On the Hits We're Taking and the Heart We Must Take

I've been making a conscious effort NOT to let my life sound all tragic on this blog. Nobody wants to read that. More importantly, it's not true. Every month this year, I find greater joy every time I go looking.

But it has to be said this week: We've been taking rather a lot of hits lately.

My church specifically has seen a slew of illnesses. Lost homes. Lost jobs. Marriages in crisis. And just some really weird, out-of-left-field stuff.

My church isn't the only one, either. I was talking to a friend in another state whose church is experiencing an unusual wave of sickness and hospital visits. Others are seeing stepped-up criticism and accusation, others are closing, others are fighting the spread of sinful agendas.

It's been one of those months. And it seems to be happening everywhere.

I've read that much of this has to do with the nearness of Easter. Satan hates Easter. Of course he does - it's his Waterloo. He lost it all that day. And so every Easter, his hatred of the saints makes the rounds. Death, destruction, stealing, killing, and destroying. Kind of a seasonal thing in the spiritual realm.

And some of it simply comes from being God's children. Crisis comes with the territory. Satan will often inflict suffering upon us just to try and turn our hearts against God. Kill our fire. Discourage us. Blame him for what he allowed to happen.

So I have two responses to it.

I can either let this define me - yes, life is sorrow and just hard, let's settle in for more - or I can do what Jesus said.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Take heart. Take it. Implying that it won't come naturally, won't just show up because we want it to. Our joy and peace, part of our inheritance and amongst the brightest treasures that God offers, is opposed. It's something we must fight for.

But it can be won. Greater is he who is in us, than he who is in the world. I'm not supposed to feel buried by this stuff. And when we do choose the grace and comfort of's such a great place to be. All else fades away.

Translations other than the NIV have Jesus saying "Take courage!". That implies resistance. No need for courage otherwise. But he wouldn't be telling me to do this if it were impossible. It involves my will; it involves my belief in God's ability to make beautiful things out of this dust. But he has overcome. I just have to make my stand in his overcoming.

The more hits we take, the more heart we must take. Remain in Jesus this week. Only there can we find that peace. It's a great place to be.

Greater is he who is in us, no matter the season. Greater is he who is in us.

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