It is often said that April showers bring May flowers. If that is true, we are in for a bumper flower crop this year! We have seen many days of rain and several storms this spring. The quote is often used to remind us that the storms of today can bring future blessings. Paul said essentially the same thing in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
It is important to pay attention to what is said. It does not say “all things are good”. Neither does it say, “all things will be pleasant”. God through Paul says that “all things work together for good”. The storms and showers of today, can bring a greater good in the future.
God is building our character. He works to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus. In that process, He must remove some things about us which interfere with that goal. He must also build within us new attitudes and skills. That process is not always pleasant.
I always struggled with visiting hospitals as a pastor. It was not that hospitals frightened me or anything. You see, as a teen, I wanted to become a doctor. When I was called to preach, that dream changed. However, there was still within me a desire to be “of tangible benefit” to people. I felt I was doing less just visiting someone. I felt awkward. As a bivocaitonal pastor, I also worked as an Emergency Medical Technician. That gave some skills which were medical related. There was always a desire to look at the chart and “do something”.
Then, eight years ago, I became the patient. I developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome. GBS is a disorder which left me paralyzed in the hospital. I received a week of treatments and then spent a month in therapy. During that time of helplessness the calls, visits, cards, etc. were a lifeline to me. I experienced firsthand the value of a visit. Guess what? Being there for me was “doing something”. I will never again feel awkward when visiting, calling, or checking up on Facebook.
I would not volunteer to go through that again. However, I am grateful for that storm and the growth it brought to me.
In my job, I see many sick computers. There are several ways computers can start to fail. Sometimes malicious software (malware) and viruses can infect a machine and grind its processors to a halt. At other times, they have been running too long and need to restart to clean out the junk which clutters their memory. An especially aggravating malady to afflict our computers at work is that they quit trusting the domain. When that trust relationship fails, they will no longer allow users to log on. I requires being taken off the domain and reintroducing the computer to the domain in order to get them to trust each other again.
As I was deep into administering some TLC to a cart of computers this week, it struck me that similar things can interfere in our walk with the Lord.
Sin is far worse than any virus/malware at bringing destruction. It interrupts our communication with God. Sin starts destroying our testimony, and left unchecked (repented of), it leads to the destruction of our lives.
There are also times in my life in which I need a fresh start. The junk in life starts to clutter my mind and distract me from God’s purpose. It is good to occasionally clear out the junk which distracts us and wastes our resources.
Finally, many lose their trust relationship with God. They forget their place in the Kingdom. Like the prodigal son, they move on and forget their heavenly Father. It never changes the fact that God is their Father, but they get out in the pigpens of the world and need to be reintroduced. They need to remember who they are and what God has provided for them.
Hopefully, we will learn from the machines and not let sin contaminate, junk to clutter, and trust to wane.
I have always loved that song. It reminds us of those events we remember this week. Easter is a time of celebrating our Lord’s resurrection. However, before that victorious morning, came the time during which He hung upon the cross giving His life for us.
Jesus Himself had said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” John 15:13 NKJV. He love us (all humanity) while we did not love Him. He knew we had a sin problem and that nothing we could do would ever remove it. He was betrayed, abandoned, tortured and killed to pay for our sins and set us free from our enslavement to them. His death provided a way for each of us to be forgiven and made right with God. He did this in spite of the fact that He knew us with all of our weaknesses and failures. He gave Himself so that we could become sons and daughters of God. As He hung there between heaven and earth, the wrath of the Father for sin was poured on upon Him. He could have come off that cross anytime He wished to do so. He choose to atone for our sins.
Although His sacrifice is sufficient for every human who has ever or ever will walk this earth, He asks one thing in return from us. He said it in John 3:16-18 “16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
The message we bring to the world is that God loves. He loves us so He provided a sacrifice to pay our debt. He loves us so much that He still calls us to turn from our sin and follow Him.
This Easter, my prayer for each of you is that you will know the love of God. Respond to His love today.