Article By: L Bierworth
Grief. America’s Christian is not closely associated with this emotion. We are told that we must “feel” good, prosper, have all the best “things” and relationships all the time. We’re left with the impression that everything must go “well” in our lives in order to be receiving God’s blessings. If things are not going well, then we must not be “real” Christians…after all, if you are sick, poor or struggling emotionally, certainly, you must have sinned somewhere in your life…right?
I beg to differ.
I am so tired of hearing how we can somehow manipulate God to fulfill our desires. If we pray a certain way, proclaim health, wealth and happiness it’s ours for the taking. Pardon my frankness, but since when is God used to make us “feel good”? I mean have these people even read the entire Bible? Do they even know who Jesus is? Do they understand Biblical history?
I’m sorry if I have offended you, my friends. That is not my intent. I’m just at a loss with how to reason in my mind the Jesus these people are proclaiming is not the same Jesus I’m familiar with; either that or I’m not a “real” Christian…
Take a journey with me… go to Africa, Asia, Haiti, Indonesia or even to the foothills of West Virginia and you will see suffering “unblessed” Christians. Do you dare claim they have “sinned” and that’s why they are suffering? Have you ever been to a third world country? If not, you must go…at least once and meet a fellow brother or sister in Christ.
Grief. Yes. I believe real Christians do experience grief and I believe it’s not a result of losing God’s blessing. If the King of the Universe experienced suffering and heartache, don’t you think He may allow the same for us as well? Just who do we think we are and what exactly do we think we can “demand” from God?
I’ve included [Isaiah 53] in its entirety from the NIV. Read the entire chapter surrounding the typical verses read at Easter to fully understand exactly what Jesus’ life was like. Then think about your life. Take a moment and thank God for everything…the good and the bad. Also, stop judging other Christians and where they are at in life. Let’s focus on what’s really important.
Isaiah 53 (NIV)
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.