Where Does Real Courage Come From?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When We Don't Understand

What a week. Like a rollercoaster with great highs and really sad lows.

HIGHS: A clergyman sent out an email blast, “REJOICE WITH ME!” His son driving on a highway fell asleep. Woke up to the rumble strips, over-corrected, and the car flipped and flipped. No seat belt. The boy was—wow!--unharmed.

LOWS: An hour later I was video conferencing with another clergyman. He had the “REJOICE WITH ME!” email in his hand. “What a story!” he exclaimed. “It’s miraculous!” And he meant it. Really meant it. But it was only a few years ago when it was his son. Hit by a drunk driver. And his son, who loved Jesus, was killed. Two young Christian men. One still here. One home.

  • A few nights ago we sat with friends who are family to us. His dad has taken a sudden turn for the worse. Cancer. He doesn’t have much time.

  • Yesterday we learned that a most faithful Christian couple lost their 30 year old daughter. A year married. The news is sketchy. It seems she had the stomach flu the day before. Now she’s with the Lord.

  • This Friday, we are so blessed. Our daughter Krissy marries.

We all have opinions about life. Why things happen. We make judgments based on the facts we know. Even when we don’t have all the facts.

But it’s hard. Life is hard, and complicated.

An old preacher once said that the day:

“…our Lord came out of the glory…was the climatic, crucial event in the history of the world. Christians look back at history, but they also look at the present, and the look to the future, and they see everything in the light of Christ…He determines and controls the whole of life.” 1

He changes the question. When we’re hurting with profound loss, we ask: “Why has this happened?” But when we turn to Jesus Christ the question shifts: “Why are You here? Why have You come?”

In every sense, He is the answer to every loss we’ve ever known, every valley we’ve ever walked, and every burden we’ve ever carried.

He is all that because He is the Savior.

He came because it’s all true. Life is hard, complicated. Full of sin and evil, injustice and hate, accidents, disasters, war, famines, earthquakes, sickness, fear, selfishness and jealousy and heartache. Up one moment, down the next.

We know this by experience.

But we know it by the Bible.

Back at the beginning. We’ve got to go back to the beginning and lay right foundations. The Lord did not create evil in the world. He Himself is perfect. He is called the “Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” (Jas 1:17) There is no darkness in Him. He is pure and holy. And He created all that is, seen and unseen, out of His perfection and His glory.

As big as this topic is, the Bible puts it simply. Clearly. So we can’t miss it.

If we don’t understand Genesis 3, we won’t understand our need for a Savior. We won’t understand why the world is the way it is. Or why we see everything collapsing all around us. Or why bad things happen to us.

The serpent appeared.

The prophets later give us a glimpse. An anointed cherub, a glorious angel, was filled with pride, corruption, self-ambition and sinned against God. 2

This is the one who appeared in the garden, dressed as a serpent.

He deceived the woman. He tempted the man and it worked. The Bible puts it like this: “Through one man (Adam), sin entered into the world, and death through sin.” (Rom 5:12) And it’s true. It’s all true.

Do you know Genesis 3? In the history of Bible teaching it is called the “fall of man.” And it is much more. All of creation was affected, “subjected to futility” and sold into “slavery to corruption.” (Rom 8:20-21) We know it personally. We know the nature of sin in our lives. The hardship we’ve had to go through.

But here’s the story. The whole story. The greatest story ever known.

The Lord did not abandon us. He came. “He came out of the glory.”

He came to deal with the problem of sin and death. On the cross. To restore all things. To wipe every tear from our eyes. To show us vision of the “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Pet 3:13)

This is what discipleship does. It’s all part of laying the right foundation. We go back to the beginning. We hear the whole story.

And we begin “to see everything in the light of Christ.”

1 Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Living Water: Studies in John 4, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 2009. P. 678.

2 see Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19

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John 15:1-11, the Vine and the branches. "Is He everything to you?