Do you trust God in an even/if or an if/then way? If/then faith says, “God, IF you will do this for me, THEN I will do that for you.” Even/if faith says, “God, EVEN IF you do this or allow that, l will trust you.”
Joni Eareckson Tada lost her ability to walk in a diving accident 50 years ago. She continues to say to God, “EVEN IF you never heal me in this life, I will trust and serve you from this chair.”
The Jamison Pals family, on their way to training for Christian service in Japan, were all killed in a car accident nearly one year ago. Four members of the Gordon White family died in a car accident last month after having spent a week at a Bible camp. These followers of Christ didn’t say, “God, IF you’ll protect us, we’ll serve you.” They said “EVEN IF you don’t protect us, we will serve you.”
Job, the man known for his suffering, demonstrated even/if faith. “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” (Job 13:15) That’s extreme! But it’s good. It shows supreme trust in God’s goodness, beyond all human logic. Ask God for that kind of relationship with him. Then, even if life gets tough, you’ll have the best life ever.
A brand plucked from the burning. A heart strangely warmed. Those are two of the phrases commonly associated with John Wesley, who may or may not have been born on this date in 1703. (He was born, and it did happen in 1703; however, some question exists as to whether John entered the world on June 17 or June 28).
Wesley was number 15 out of 19 kids, son of an Anglican priest named Samuel and a godly mother named Susanna. He miraculously survived a house fire when he was five, leading Susanna to refer to her little boy as “a brand plucked from the burning,” a phrase from Zech. 3:2. When he was 35, while listening to the reading of Martin Luther’s introduction to the book of Romans, Wesley “felt his heart strangely warmed.” What happened next changed his life.
“I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” Wesley was transformed. His orderly manner of following Christ gained derogatory names at the time like “holy club” (at Oxford) and Methodism. That second one stuck. He didn’t set out to launch a new denomination, nor did he ever join the one named after his methods. He may well have been saddened by controversies debated by them today, but John Wesley’s legacy of deep passion for God lives worldwide to this day.
Happy birthday (maybe), John!
Point is, aspects of life can seem common and established and as though they’ll be around forever, until, they’re not.
What’s next? No doubt about it, some things we think will never disappear, will disappear. What are you putting your trust in? What’s giving you a sense of security? Might not hurt to take a good hard look at this. Be sure to build deep into what will truly last.
When troubles come, you can choose to brace or embrace. Brace, as in stiffen up, steel yourself against what’s coming. Or embrace, as in open up, relax and welcome it. Sometimes bracing is good. If you’ve seen the movie “Sully,” you’ve seen the value of the brace. But more often than not in life, embracing is probably better. You might not be able to jump and down in ecstatic joy when trials come, but as you trust in Christ, you can embrace those trials with joy. See James 1:2-4.