Not too long after my wife Amy passed away, a pink bow appeared on a mailbox down the street from our house; a baby girl had come into the world. The circle of life. The phrase gently drifted through my mind as I
Our lives are seldom what we planned them to be. We imagine a career, spouse, family, home, a vacation now and then. Rarely do we consider what tragedies will befall us along the way. I guess that’s just human nature. After all, focusing on all the potential horrible things would not be a healthy way to live.
But those bad things that happen really do the most to shape and mold us. In James 1:2-4 it says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Only in God’s wisdom can there be joy be found in hardship. Our human minds can’t equate those two things. But if you really ‘consider’ it, it really does make sense. We would not understand light without darkness. We would not appreciate sunshine if it didn’t rain occasionally. The loud, raucous, incredibly busy days of our lives make us long for a quiet evening at home. And we would not understand joy without having to withstand hardship.
It has been said that the only two guarantees in life are death and taxes. I get the sentiment, although a faith in God ameliorates the death condition. But the fact remains that when we are born, we begin the journey to the end of our lives. Some journeys are long, others not. We all face the same end in judgement, then a separation of those who have been faithful to God from those who have not. 2 Peter 3:11 reminds us with a view to the inevitable end of our lives, we should conduct ourselves in a holy and godly way during our time here on earth.
There is a lot written about acceptance. Self-help books, recovery programs, idioms, etc. Mainly, acceptance means being satisfied with whatever condition you’re in currently. Easy to say, hard to do. Paul speaks of this in Philippians 4:11-13, ‘Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Paul had come to the point in his life that he accepted whatever condition he found himself in. And he was able to do this through his faith in God through Jesus Christ. Shouldn’t we do the same?
If you do a word search for ‘acceptance’ in the bible, it only appears a few times. One of those times is 1 Tim. 1:15, ‘This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.’ Now that is something truly worth all acceptance!