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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 25, 2014

Parson to Person: Really faithful

By Rev. Regan Stoops, First Baptist Church | Jun 07, 2013

I think we can all agree that life can be pretty tough, right? Recently we have been reminded of the tragedy and loss that people experience as Oklahoma City has been bombarded with tornadoes; many lost homes, cars, even their lives. These kinds of events make all of us stop and recognize how difficult living in this world can be.

And before the tornadoes we saw elementary schools getting attacked by shooters, New Orleans nearly wiped out by a hurricane and airplanes used as missiles flown into the World Trade Center. And that’s just in this country.

Closer to home many of us experience loved ones diagnosed with cancer, financial difficulties and problems within our families.

What a mess this fallen world is.

Sorry to be a downer, but recently I decided to spend some more time looking back into Scripture and figuring out how some God’s people dealt with difficulties in their own lives.

And what I’ve come to find is that most of us don’t have it so bad after all. And when we do encounter struggles, we can learn from the faithfulness of these heroes of the Bible.

Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Abraham was called out of a pagan family and asked to leave everything to go to a place he’d never been by a God he hadn’t known. So he took his wife and went.

His greatest desire was to have children — as that was incredible important in a family — and he and Sarah were unable. But he followed God anyway. God promised him children but took His time with it, and Abraham continued to follow.

And just when things were going his way and Abraham’s son Isaac was a growing boy, God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on an altar. I’m starting to think my problems aren’t so bad. Ultimately, Abraham obeyed, and the God whose goodness abounds, provided a lamb to be sacrificed instead.

Joseph, a great grandson of Abraham’s, had dreams of grandeur that led to his brothers selling him into slavery out of their anger and jealousy. Talk about a disfunctional family.

But Joseph remained faithful to God, doing right and living with integrity, even when falsely accused of attacking his owner’s wife. And his faithfulness paid off as God used him to save the people of Egypt through terrible famine, and even brought redemption to his family.

And then there’s Job. Talk about a cruel joke. Job, known as a “blameless and upright” man, was the recipiant of Satan’s worst afflictions so the accuser could prove that Job’s only allegiance to God came from His great blessing.

So Job lost his family, his wealth and eventually his health. But in the midst of losing absolutely everything, he refused to curse God. Yes, he had some questions for his Creator, but he still remained faithful.

What these and many other men and women from the Bible help me to remember, is that our call to faithfulness to God is not conditional on circumstances.

He wants us to follow Him regardless of what’s going on in our lives. And He promises that he will remain with us and will be working for our good through it all.

As I look back at difficult times in my life, I can see God’s hands at work. He never promised that this life would be easy. But He has proven His faithfulness by offering His own Son to take our punishment for sin, and offers to be with us through it all.

Now, if only I could remember that the next time.

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