A Sure Foundation

      I have heard some folks preach a gospel that seems to imply that if a person would only accept Christ as their Savior all their troubles will be gone and life will be like a never-ending  trip to an awesome amusement park on a sunny day when your pockets are overflowing with money. That is not the case. Following Christ is a wonderful journey, and He is good and He blesses and He comforts and He carries our burdens and He leads and guides and loves. But He never promised that this life would be without obstacles and trials, He never said there would be no sorrow, nor pain.

      Perhaps that is why there are disillusioned people out there wondering why Christianity didn't work for them. I have been a Christian now for over 26 years and I have had my share of trials and troubles. Many of them were self inflicted and due to a lack of wisdom and obedience on my part, and many of them were through no fault of mine at all, they just happened. Life is like that. In this world you WILL have troubles, you can guarantee it, after all it was our Lord who said those words. 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.” Those are the words of Jesus to His disciples.

     In this world we WILL have trouble, but in JESUS there is PEACE because He has overcome the world. I can only speak to my own experience, but for me I often get overwhelmed with things, with my troubles and the troubles of others. I get discouraged, I get sad. But when I examine myself I can easily see why this is. If you recall the story of Jesus as He walked across the stormy waters of the Sea of Galilee, you will remember that as the disciples in the boat saw Him coming they were afraid, and then He spoke to them, saying "Take courage! It is I"  and Peter yelled out "Lord if it is You bid me come to You on the water!", and Jesus said "Come", and Peter did just that. He stepped right out of that boat and he walked on the water. But he made a mistake, He took his eyes off of Jesus and he put them on the water and the waves and when he did that he began to sink.

  Life is like that, if we as Christians keep our eyes on Jesus, if we seek after Him with all our hearts, if we pray, study and commune with Him and as the troubles come into our lives, be they ours or someone we care about, we will have peace, we will be effective and we will get through the trial and in the getting through it we will bring glory to God and good to ourselves and others. It is when we take our eyes off Christ and put them on the troubles that we begin to sink. When I do this I can feel myself sinking, I begin to despair, I get really sad, the weight of the things going on around me become impossible to bear, to even tolerate, and I want nothing more than to run into a dark room and hide my head under a pillow to turn off the constant suffering I see all around. But when I place my eyes fully on my Lord, I am strengthened, I have joy and hope, even in the middle of painful circumstances, and when I keep my eyes on Him, I am able to be used of Him to help others. My calling is mercy, that is what He has called me to do, I am to care for others, to pray for them, to help them in a variety of different ways, all in His Name, in His strength and for His glory. Your calling might be different from mine as we all have different gifts and therefore how you feel when your eyes come off Jesus might be different than how I feel, but regardless the principal is the same.

  Keep you eyes on Jesus and everything will be okay. It might be hard, you might have to walk in some difficult places, but if you keep your eyes on Him you will always be standing on a firm and solid foundation and you will not sink. It will not all be sunshine and roses in this world. There will be many days when being a Christian hurts. If it doesn't hurt then you might want to consider carefully whether or not you are truly following Christ. As a Christian you will be misunderstood, you will probably be ridiculed on occasion, you will be burdened and pressed with the needs of others, God will ask you to do things that seem very difficult to do, things that stretch you out of your comfort zone,  but through it all, if you keep your eyes on Him, and follow Him,  you will  have the joy of knowing Him, the pleasure and comfort of His company and His care, the knowledge that He is using it all, every last bit of it, for His glory and for your good and/or the good of others. 

  Following Christ is not easy, He told us very clearly that it wouldn't be easy. But He is faithful in His promises of a peace that passes understanding, joy that is evident even in hard times and a hope that does not diminish when circumstances are not as you wish they were. There is no greater pursuit in this life than following Jesus, there is no better way to spend your life than in His service.

   Following Jesus does not remove you from the troubles and trials of this world, but it does give you the sure and present assurance of His presence with you as you walk through those troubles and trials and His strength and power to get through them in a manner that brings glory to Christ and that shouts out the message of the gospel to a world that is hurting and broken, because that is what Christianity is, it is walking through the troubles and trials and sorrows of this world with Jesus as your Lord and Shepherd showing forth the gospel of His good news of forgiveness and redemption and reconciliation to a lost and broken world.

   Jesus is worth everything, absolutely everything this world has to offer. As the apostle Paul said, " Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ." 

Keep your eyes on Jesus and off the waves and everything will turn out okay, and remember, this life here is just a tiny piece of an enormous tapestry.