Paul's words to Christians living in first-century Rome put wind in our sails. It's what we want to believe about God -- that he is for us and that he will help us. But do we really believe this?
I awoke early -- too early this morning. It was the kind of wake-up call God usually reserves for Sunday morning . . . those times when I think I'm ready to "stand and deliver" and God kindly nudges me out of bed to let me know that's not the case. The Spirit whispers, "There's still work to be done" and I grudgingly stumble around till my mind and bones warm up to the point I can pick up the pace and get to polishing the sermon.
But it is not Sunday morning. It's Friday morning. What's up with that!
So there I was lying around trying to sleep while my mind probed the depths of my insomnia-burdened soul. My thoughts raced to Sunday and to our series Famous Unbelievers. We're talking about Jesus, specifically addressing the doubts that we (like John the Baptist in Matthew 11) have from time-to-time.
God began to unfold the significance of settling these doubts. What we believe matters for eternity of course, but what we believe about Jesus -- I mean really believe about Jesus -- determines if we will really pray, if we will experience the peace Jesus promises, or if we will persevere in our walk with him.
In 1791 John Wesley encouraged British Parliamentarian William Wilberforce to "stay the course in his campaign against slavery" as Dr. Peter Teague shared recently in a note to the Lancaster Bible College family. Wesley's words had to have been incredibly encouraging to Wilberforce in 1791. They are to me in 2016:
"Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh be not weary in well doing! Go on, in the name of God in the power of His might, till even American slavery shall vanish away…."
Those words are full of hope . . . but only for those who truly believe that Jesus is who he says he is. Otherwise all the niceties collapse and we will be searching for peace in a pill, or for our thrills at a child's soccer match, or for our identity in a car, or for our satisfaction in a bottle of beer and a movie on Friday night.
God has more for us than that. Jesus is really real. And as the reality of who He is becomes a growing reality in our lives, every day is truly a glorious unfolding.
See you Sunday for Famous Unbelievers.
"Stay the course ..." and "Unless God has raised you up ..." from Lancaster Bible College Echo, Winter 2015. Page 3.