Wednesday, November 07, 2018

"How Hard Can That Be?"

1st Peter 1.17b NAS

“…conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth.”

I am intrigued by the phrase “the time of your stay on earth.” The verse implies life (as we know it) will come to an end. My life had its beginning approximately nine months prior to 3:04 a.m. on October 6, 1952 in Denison, Texas. My parents were excited to bring me into this world as my birth announcement suggests...

Scriven and Scriven present
the Scriven Deluxe Model No. 1
Deluxe Features Include:
Two Lung Power Body
Scream Line
Free Squealing
Bawl Bearings
Knee Action
Changeable seat covers
Net Weight 7 lbs. 9 ½ oz.
The management wishes to announce
there will be no more models this year!

That was the beginning of “the time of [my] stay on earth.” Exactly eight years ago, on November 3rd, 2010, I knelt by my mother’s hospice bedside and whispered in her ear, “Go be with Jesus. Go be with Dad.” Then I prayed, “Oh Jesus, receive my mom into heaven.” Mom died, and that was the end to “the time of [her] stay on earth.”

I watched my precious wife take her last breath at 12:14 p.m. on August 30th, 2015. I fell on her lifeless body and wept. She was my best friend and the greatest human I have ever known. Adonica died, and that was the end to “the time of [her] stay on earth.”

Like my all my ancestors, grandparents, Mom and Dad, and wife, my life is just an eensy-weensy speck on eternity’s continuum. I am almost unnoticeable and certainly forgettable. No one will think or speak of me or find any evidence of my existence a generation or two after I’m gone. I’m a singular, tiny ‘blip’ on the EKG screen of life. As James once said:

“You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
James 4.14b NAS

My family and I traveled to Hawaii in January 2006 and thoroughly enjoyed our stay with Resort Quest at Papakea in Maui. We checked in on a Monday and left on a Tuesday one week later. In the broad scope of our lives, that week will play a very small role. Its memory is swallowed up by the 2,767 weeks of my life preceding vacation week and the several thousand that will hopefully follow.

Similarly, my entire life is virtually lost in the infinite volume of eternity. I checked into Hotel Earth and I will definitely check out. There’s a beginning and an end to “the time of [my] stay on earth.” Thankfully, God is a big God. He is “intimately acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139.3b). He will remember me long after I vanish from this planet. He even remembered who I was long before I arrived here. God actually foreknew me (Romans 8.29; 11.2); that is, He knew the exact number of hairs on my head today trillions of light years before He created the world I live in. God’s knowledge of me; well, it’s incomprehensible,  unimaginable!

There’s a beginning and an end to “the time of your stay on earth.” I knew nothing of the first half of eternity. I wasn’t there. I only existed as a thought in the mind of Christ. However, I will enjoy the second half with Jesus forever and ever. He asks very little of me…

“…you should conduct yourselves with true reverence throughout the time
of your temporary residence (on the earth, whether long or short).”
1st Peter 1.7 The Amplified Bible

In the light of eternity and with the power and presence of Jesus living within me… how hard can that be?


Anonymous said...

A few additional thoughts on this chapter as I inadvertently posted on 1 Peter, ch # 1 a few days ago.

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

--1 Peter, ch # 1 vs 6.

This theme keeps coming up. Paul consistently speaks of trials and persecutions. James begins his book by claiming that trials produce perseverence and perseverence produces maturity. Peter essentially says the same thing, although suggesting that the goal is a verifiably authentic faith.

But to be honest, trouble and trials seem to come without rhyme or reason. And some seem to suffer far more than others. Every now and then I will look at John or Mary Smith and simply think to myself: has that person ever truly suffered, I mean really suffered. From my own external perspective, it is easy to look at others and think: "Man, they really have it made." From my own perspective, someone can appear to have the perfect house, job, wife, family and car. But to be honest, I really have no idea what those people have gone through or are going through. I guess that's one reason Ron has been speaking on this need to be authentic, to let people know what's really going on.

Then I think of believers in other parts of the world. Can you imagine living your life as a believer in Pakistan or China or Iran? Boggles the imagination. I know I would never wish that upon myself, regardless of what the spiritual benefits would be.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm a weenie. I don't like anything about suffering, and when i'm in the middle of it, the last thing i'm thinking is that God works all things together for my good.

Funny, when faced with the reality of severe suffering, even Jesus asked if there was any other way.

"My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

-------MATTHEW 26, VS 39.

I find it a little ironic. We spend so much of out lives trying to figure out how to avoid pain, and yet the creator of the universe tells us that there is no other way.

No great insigthts today, just some lingering questions on why bad things happen to good people.
Any thoughts you have on this would be helpful.


Dave's Bible Blog said...

From one weenie to another...

I appreciate your comments. My verse for today is 1st Peter 2.20 and it is about suffering for doing good. Pain is a part of life and is especially evident when we when we are attempting to follow Christ. Opposition and persecution come even when we are doing the right thing and pleasing God. In fact, persecution is guaranteed for "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus" (2nd Timothy 3.12).

Thanks for your comments, Jim AKA Cedar Mill.


Lee Thomas said...

"Cedar Mill" asks why bad things happen to good people. There are two main answers to this question:

1. R.C. Sproul claims that the question really ought to be "why do good things happen to bad people?" We are sinners, justly deserving punishment and not deserving anything good from God - but He gives us good things anyway. To come to expect a constant stream of good things, as if we somehow are entitled to it, is arrogance beyond measure.

2. The Book of Job is consumed with the question of why "evil" happens to "the righteous" (so it's the same question, expressed more poetically). And after more than 30 chapters, God finally says to Job "You can't even comprehend the simplest things about how I created the world - how can you possibly expect to understand how I've decided to permit or prevent bad things on a daily basis? If I tried to explain it, your brain couldn't handle it."

In my own case, with a long history of severe trials, I've come to the conclusion that bad things happen to us so that we can be like Job - writing our life story so we can bless others with it, including our triumphs and our struggles. It's not "all about me", after all; we need to strengthen each other.

-Lee Thomas

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Hey Lee,

Thanks for the insightful contribution to the blog.