I think I am entitled to at least one more emotional period given my current circumstances. Firstly, exams are around the corner, yes, and it can make people act differently. Secondly, as a uni campus minister put it: “relationships [are] getting shuffled around”. Reaching the end of university seems to invoke more thought concerning relationships than about graduating. But this is just the basis for the topic chosen today, and my point today isn’t quite about the relationships; that I will deal in a separate post.
I have been graced with meeting a lot of different people in my different ministries across these last few years. But only more recently have I seen some of the struggles that my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ face. Having my relationships shuffled around at the end of this year will make it harder for me to “watch over” my friends and aid them in their struggles in the future. And to simplify a bunch of complex thought constructs on this matter, it just makes you feel bad when you can no longer help the people who need help, but can only watch from the sidelines, if you’re even there to stand at the sidelines.
Now I don’t want to go into specific situations people are going, and no they are nowhere as serious as some of the suffering you would see in the news and stuff. But trials and suffering are all around us, and without considering how badly these trials and sufferings are affecting someone, we would still agree that we want to try and help our friends with their struggles as best as we can. Of course you would pay more attention to the direct people around you, as opposed to those suffering halfway across the world; a second level of “guilt” from not having the capacity to consider the sufferings of those far away.
But seeing the amount of suffering around even just my life (let alone the world) reminds me of just how powerless I as a human being, that though I’ve tried to help as many people push through their trials, there are just still so many more who need that Christian support. But at the end of the day, it reminds me of how sinful and corrupted the world still is, that sin has probed into everywhere and into everyone’s lives that even Christians need to persevere through the things in their life that have been tainted by sin. We are reminded from the sadness of seeing those around us struggle that the world is still currently broken, and we tend to think a bit more about salvation being “not yet” more than it being “now”.
And yet in light of these “spiritual lows” of watching suffering and then sharing in it too (to some extent), there is no doubt that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross has dealt with sin, and though we see the world still reveling in its sin, we have complete confidence and assurance that there will be a new creation; a new heaven and a new earth:
“For this world in its present form is passing away.” – 1 Corinthians 7:31
And we take comfort knowing that we have been saved from our sins. Though we may still be struggling through difficulties today, all Christians everywhere, we know that these trials cannot compare to the glory that awaits us in heaven:
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12
The “spiritual highs” that I mention in the title refers to this: if we have these “spiritual lows” from recognisng the sin in this world and the way it affects us and the people around us, then how much more should we recognise the salvation that has come through the blood of Jesus Christ’s suffering? By comparison you have our struggles (great and small) which eat away at our lives, but hopefully do not destroy us; and then you have Jesus’ act on the cross, the one great sacrifice that saves the whole world, and guarantees the removal of ALL suffering when He returns. How much greater is Jesus’s promise than our present sufferings? How much more should we rejoice in our “spiritual highs” of remembering what Jesus has done, than crying over our “spiritual lows”?
Brothers and sisters, we can take comfort in the Lord today knowing that He does watch, He does answer our prayers and He does help those who are struggling. But even if we should not be taken away from our trials, that doesn’t matter because we have Jesus, and He is the one ultimate comfort that trumps all the worries of our lives. If we should cry a thousand tears for the sufferings of ourselves and our friends, we must be prepared to sing a million songs in praise of the grace of our awesome God! Let us rejoice in God continually and find comfort and strength in Him.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:4-7