Yes, yes, yes, 1000 times YES! I so agree with this:
I have no sympathy with people who tell us today that these are the darkest days the world has ever seen. The days in which we live are appalling, but they do not compare with conditions in the world when Jesus came into it. Historians talk of the Pax Romana and make much of the fact that there was peace everywhere, the Roman peace. Do not forget that the Roman peace was the result of the fact that the world had been bludgeoned brutally into submission to one central power.…
Notwithstanding the prevailing conditions, the dominant note of these Letters, revealing the experience of the Church, is a note of triumph. The dire and dread facts and conditions are never lost sight of—indeed, they are there all the way through. The people are seen going out and facing these facts—and suffering because of these facts—but we never see them depressed and cast down, we never see them suffering from pessimistic fever. They are always triumphant. That is the glory of Christianity. If ever I am tempted to think that religion is almost dead today, it is when I listen to the wailing of some Christian people: “Everything is wrong,” or “Everything is going wrong.” Oh, be quiet! Think again, look again, judge not by the circumstances of the passing hour but by the infinite things of our Gospel and our God. And that is exactly what these people did.
~ This had me missing Belgian frites.
~ Pathological altruism. Fascinating stuff.
~ A little coffeehouse history
Obama’s vanity is a wonder of the world that never loses its power to astonish, but really: Iseveryone in his orbit too lost in raptures of admiration to warn him against delivering a speech soggy with banalities and bromides in a city that remembers John Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” and Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall”? With German Chancellor Angela Merkel sitting nearby, Obama began his Berlin speech: “As I’ve said, Angela and I don’t exactly look like previous German and American leaders.” He has indeed said that, too, before, at least about himself. It was mildly amusing in Berlin in 2008, but hardly a Noel Coward-like witticism worth recycling.
His look is just not that interesting. And after being pointless in Berlin, neither is he, other than for the surrealism of his second term.
…But notice the next verse. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” So just as God elected individuals from before all eternity, he also has chosen our good works from before all eternity. And he didn’t just choose a broad and nebulous category of good works for us to each inherit. Just as he has chosen individual believers, he has chosen specific, particular moments of obedience for us. He chose your attitude about your co-workers this past week. He chose your love for your spouse this past week. He chose your patience with your children. He chose your humility about your paycheck and your financial means. He chose your prayers offered up in faith about the hardships of being alone. He chose your willingness to hand your health over to him and to trust him in what seems like an impossible situation. Each of these moments of obedience was a gift from him to you, a moment where you walked alive in Christ and felt the goodness of Christ’s righteousness.
Because these moments are hard, because these moments take great faith for us to obey, and because these moments often only come after the confessing of much sin, we are prone to think of them as us at our worst…
Do read the whole thing.
If you are in a hard season, it’s easy to forget or diminish what God has done for you in the past. “If God really worked for me in the past, why am I having such struggles now?! Shouldn’t it be getting better?” But that has never been the nature of this journey of faith. Never, ever in Scripture is it portrayed as a steady positive climb. It’s portrayed as mountains and valleys, raging rivers and dry deserts. He leads us by still waters where we can drink deeply. But it is in preparation for walking through the valley of the shadow of death. His instruction to REMEMBER is key for surviving the drought and enduring through the valleys.
If you are struggling right now in such a season, I offer the simple suggestion that you go find some ebenezer from your own life.