7th July 2018

Agony And Ecstasy

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Romans 8.18 (NIV)

“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” So said Liverpool manager Bill Shankly in a memorable sound bite, believing there was a grain of truth in the statement. The agony and the ecstasy – which was it to be for England Tuesday night 3rd July? Can we go through to the quarter finals? We now know that ‘Yes we can’. So far so good. Fans went wild of course whilst Colombia suffered the agony.

When so much adrenalin, energy and emotion are expended, the resultant high or low is inevitable and expected. With all the troubles extant in this present evil age people actively look for a release from the grip of ‘The daily round and the common task’ and are often willing to take the risk for a high in some activity, hoping the low won’t come. It seems to be a deep human need.

We see it in the lottery for example – Winner takes all. One or two people will experience the ecstasy of the win but most have a temporary lift of hope before the disappointing reality sets in (with odds that are some four times greater than being struck by lightning apparently). We also sadly see agony and ecstasy in the drugs scene. Now there is nothing wrong with shooting for highs and lows providing the end result is worthy, unlike with illegal drugs. But perhaps in today’s society the aim itself might seem unworthy of the hype for which we so badly crave? Even football?!

Many people in the Bible experienced highs and lows, especially King David in the Psalms. In Psalm 30:1 he says “I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.” And in verse 11, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”

Ultimately all humanity, who so wishes, will have the supreme ecstasy of entering God’s dimension and realm of eternity in the Kingdom of God, as Paul in our header verse says; and we will leave behind for ever the agony of the trials of this life.

Now that’s a goal worth shooting for…

Prayer
In the highs and lows we all experience in this physical life, Father in Heaven, help us to keep our eyes on the real high of Christianity—to be like you and to enter your kingdom.
Amen

Study by Tony Goudie

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About the Author:
Tony Goudie is the Pastor of the Great Baddow Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK (near Chelmsford).

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Great Baddow
United Reformed church
High Street
Great Baddow
CHELMSFORD
CM2 7HH

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 01508-498165
Email: tony_goudie@wcg.org.uk

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