Saturday, April 16, 2011

How hard is life?

A statement that one often overhears, from others, and often even from one’s own heart, mind, and spirit, is “Life is hard!” This statement can be heard in other forms as well.

“Life is hard!”

Is this a true statement? If one thinks that this is true, what is the cause? What makes life hard for a person?

Do you find yourself thinking that life is hard? If so, why?

What is a person’s focus when thinking that life is hard? What thoughts prevail in the heart, mind, and spirit of a person who believes that life is hard?

I continue to be amazed at the response of Adam to the Word of the Lord. In Genesis 3, after the Lord confronts Adam and his wife with their sin, condemns the serpent for its part in the devil’s plan to destroy the life that the Lord established for His children, pronouncing the mighty work that would be accomplished by the Seed of Woman, tells the woman the consequences that sin has brought upon her and then counters this with the promise that her husband shall still rule over her despite her rebellion and that her desire will still be for her husband and his God-appointed place as her head, tells Adam that the ground is cursed for his sake but that he nevertheless shall eat by the sweat of his brow, and then Adam turns to his wife, Woman, and names her Eve, that is, Life.

Before the Lord called them from their hiding, Adam and his wife thought only of the consequences of sin in their lives. They could no longer see Life, because they had died in their sin. Sin had cut them off from the one and only source of Life. And so, for them, Life was no longer possible. Only death was now before them. They felt it in their spirit. They felt it in their mind. They felt it in their body. They were no longer alive. They were no longer full of Life. Their anatomical parts still functioned, but they were no longer alive. Their life had become not only hard, but impossible. They could not make things right again.

But when the Lord came calling for them and brought them out from their hiding, He reversed this. It was not that Adam and his wife came to the Lord, it was not that they sought Him and found their way back to Him, but that He came to them through His Word. He came to them and hearing His voice, the darkness was gone. The Lord had come and filled the emptiness, and the darkness in their soul was gone.

He changed their focus by calling to them. His Word restored them to be able to see His goodness, but not only His goodness. More importantly, they saw His gracious attitude toward them. By calling to them He caused them to understand that the difficulty that they faced was the result of their own choice, not His. They turned from Him. He did not turn from them. The Life that He desired from them was not this life of struggle and doom that they had chosen for themselves. And so, by revealing to them the plan that He had from eternity, the plan that He prepared knowing the doom that they would choose for themselves, the gracious plan of coming to them in the flesh to redeem them and save them and restore them to His righteousness and holiness, by telling this to them He brought Light and Life to them once again.

Now, even though they fully knew that they would face the daily consequences of the sin that they brought to the world, nevertheless, they rejoiced in the Lord’s mercy, grace, and peace.

The reason that we think that life is hard is because we look to the wrong source for life. When we look to our struggles to provide for ourselves and to do good and to be honorable and to be successful, we see only death and failure and darkness and doom. But when the Word of the Lord breaks through to us so that our attention is turned to hear the voice of the Lord again so that we see all that He has done and promised, so that we see His gracious and continual activity in our lives, then Life is restored and our struggles are seen for what they really are, temporary. Then we see that the Lord is good and that His mercy endures forever. Then our sorrows turn to thanksgiving and rejoicing. Then we see that it is true that to those loving God, the called according to His purpose, all things synergize into good (Romans 8:28).

The reason is that God is good. God is not merely sovereign. He is sovereign with a purpose. His purpose is love. His love is merciful and forgiving. His mercy and forgiveness produce restoration and reconciliation. This He works for us through the ordained means of grace. When we look to these instead of looking to ourselves and what we try to do for ourselves, when we hear God’s call to be gathered together to His means of grace, life no longer appears to be hard. For the Life that God gives is Jesus and the works that He has accomplished for us. It is a done deal! When we realize this we understand that we do not have to become victorious for as St. Paul declares, “We are more than conquerors!” This can only be rightly understood when we hear it as it stands written, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

“Through the one having loved us,” is past tense. It is not the way that we are inclined to hear this. It is not future tense. Neither is it conditional. The one having loved us is the cause of our being more than conquerors. He has already loved us, even from eternity. He has already given His Son to defeat the powers of sin, death, and the devil. It does not depend upon what we do. God has already done it for us. Our part is made to be like it was in the very beginning. Our part is simply to receive what God has already done and freely bestows upon us. Our part is simply to be brought by God into His kingdom through Baptism and to partake of the unity and life that Jesus purchased for us, to partake of the body and blood that He gives in the Holy Supper. The Lord has set the table by establishing His Church on earth. He calls us and gathers us through the preaching of the Gospel and Baptism. God does it all. We are His beloved children who receive what our loving Father gives to us.

Can life be any easier than this?

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1 comment:

bodylift said...

Somebody called life is hard and somebody means it is a fun or enjoyable ride. They measured it with them successes and failures. Successful person always loved his life when failure or unsuccessful person really hated it. But my thinking is that the approach of the person of life is crucial. It's all depends on it.