16th October 2017

Real Christian Faith 

“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble, and those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”
Psalm 9:9–10 (NKJV) 

There are times when we all experience reverses. It may be work, family, health, wealth—and some seem to experience more than their fair share. But when these happen in our lives, so often our personal horizon shrinks to little more than ourselves. As a true analogy, let me remind you that when we experience a tiny splinter in our thumb, all interest shrinks to focus on that thumb. The same holds true whether we lose our job or experience other trials—suddenly all areas of life, our preoccupations, entertainment, our cares and concerns, happenings to people we know and care about, everything, contracts to us in our current predicament.

And that seems reasonable, given that our universe is us; without us our universe ceases to exist. And, in Christian terms, remember that the instruction is to love others as ourselves—which means we are permitted, expected, to love ourselves.

On the other hand, Christians who experience life-threatening situations, realising that the outcome is inevitable, often turn attention away from themselves to others. There are so many stories of those who go to visit someone terminally ill in a hospital bed, fearing the encounter and wondering how they will fill the hour or so that they will be there, only to be enchanted and encouraged by the example of the patient. Instead of coming away sobered and depressed, they leave with renewed hope and vision.

I remember once visiting a lady who was dying of cancer. She knew she was dying, and I knew that she knew she was dying. What do you say to a person in that position? “I’m so sorry” just doesn’t seem to cut it. She answered my question for me. “I have reached the stage where nothing matters any more: whether housework or the trouble of my neighbours and family. Instead, I have resigned everything to God’s care because I know He alone can solve all those problems, and I know He will. In the great scheme of things, as He has set up this life, so walking closely with Him is all that matters.”

Another time she added: “People worry about all sorts of things: Politics, finances, the stories and happenings of the famous as reported in the newspapers, the latest crisis in popular tv soaps, and even the weather. But, bottom line, this life is just our caterpillar stage. Death will take me through the metamorphous stage into another life. Frankly, that anticipation outweighs the trepidation I might feel stepping into the unknown. Realistically, we knew enough to face what remains of our physical future with a quiet, expectant spirit.”

In my opinion, that is as good a definition of Christian faith, my friends, as you’ll find anywhere.

Prayer
Merciful Father, our faith, even where we know better because we have studied your Word and understand what lies ahead for the Christian, is often weak. Grant us the matchless gift of the faith of and in your Son, his ceaseless care for us, and your unbreakable promises. Build our faith through our vision of the certainties you have recorded in Scripture for us. And this we pray in Jesus’ name.
Amen
 

Study by John Stettaford

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About the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School,
Room A1 (Main Building)
Honey End Lane
READING RG30 4EL

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone: 01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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