Wednesday, July 29, 2009

God Hasn't Promised Us a Rose Garden Life

Wasn’t there a song that went, “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden?” God didn’t. It can’t be found anywhere in Scripture. “Thus saith the Lord, ’Come to me, and you will never suffer again.’”

Look at some things he did say (some promises we don't like to claim):

ð In John 16:33, Jesus promises trouble: “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.”

ð In Acts 14:22, the Bible promises hardships: [Paul and Barnabas strengthened the disciples and encouraged] them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

ð In 2 Timothy 3:12, the Bible promises persecution: In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

ð In 1 Thessalonians 3:3, the Bible promises trials: You know quite well that we were destined for [trials].

Sara and I read a book about Christianity in China. During the cultural revolution, several pastors and lay Christians were arrested because of their faith.
ð Wang Mingdao: imprisoned 1958-1980 (22 yrs)
ð His wife: 1958-1975 (17 yrs)
ð Allen Yuan: 1958-1979 (21 yrs)
ð Samuel Lamb: 1958-1978 (20 yrs)
ð Moses Xie: 1956-1979 (23 yrs)

And there were others; not only imprisoned, but also tortured. But God used their testimony and their imprisonment to build his church in China to the point where it is one of the fastest growing churches in the world today, and it is still underground.

Don’t get upset with God the moment your life isn’t comfortable. He didn’t say it would be.

Remember Shadrach and his friends (Daniel 3)? They were believers, and they were about to be burned in an enormous furnace because they refused to bow down to an idol that a foreign king had built. They told the king, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, . . . we will not serve your gods” (Daniel 3:17-18).

Do you see what they said: “But even if he does not”?! These guys understood that God hasn’t promised a rose garden life. Actually, he has—the next life. But not this one.

Abandon this notion that sailing with Christ is always going to be on smooth waters.

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