Friday, April 11, 2008

What Can We Expect?

What can we expect as follower of Christ when we face cancer and other challenging life circumstances?

Joy. Joy? Yes, joy. Before His death, Jesus promised His disciples that when He returned, after His resurrection, that they would have joy and that no one would be able to take that joy away from them. See John 16:22-24. Similarly, as followers of Jesus Christ, we can have joy in all circumstances. Difficult circumstances or people may threaten to steal our joy, but our joy can only be taken away if we allow it to happen. If we keep our focus on Jesus Christ, we can have joy in the midst of any circumstance.

Several years ago, I read this defintion of joy from John MacArthur. You have to read it several times and meditate on it to really unpack its meaning.

Joy is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel being produced in them by the Holy Spirit as they receive and obey the Scripture being mixed with trials and set their hope and their heart on future glory.

Courage. In Psalm 34:4, David wrote: I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. In any circumstance, we can call on the Lord to be delivered from our fears. This does not mean that He will take away the circumstances that cause us to be fearful, but that He will give us courage to face our fears.

Confidence. Jesus promised His followers, in John 10:28-29, that those who received eternal life from Him would never be snatched out of His hands. Because of God’s great strength, we can have confidence in all circumstances. Nothing can happen to us that God does not allow. Nothing can take away our eternal life with God.

Hope. Paul wrote in Romans 15:13, Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is both the source and object of our hope. In all circumstances, we can have joy and peace; these are by-products of our faith. And we can overflow with hope because our God is the God of hope.

Strength. The prophet Isaiah paints a beautiful picture of the strength available to those who wait upon the Lord (Isaiah 40:28-31). Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. In our times of greatest weakness, we can call upon God for strength.

In any difficult circumstance, the challenge is keeping our focus in the right place. We must look beyond our trial and focus on Jesus Christ. When we do, we will find joy, courage, confidence, hope, and strength.

1 comment:

Ronnie Covenant Marriage Seminars said...

I understand you. I guess that’s just the thing if you belong to the human race. That’s what I’ve learned when my wife and I attended a series of covenant marriage seminars.