“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” - John 16:33 (NIV)
The world we live in is characterized by many troubles, death being one of those. Death came upon the earth as one of the consequences of Adam’s fall. “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). Since then , death has followed mankind, biting the young and old. Of course there are other consequences out of the fall of Adam, like, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life” (vv 17); but none of the punishment meted out sticks like death!
Yet, where there is death, for Christians there is a truth, for through Christ, death has been overcome. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25 ). This is why I Cor 15: 55-57, says, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
One of those striking differences between believers and non-believers is that where there is death, crushing as it may be, for us there is hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-14, says “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
The pain of death was known to Christ who went to comfort Martha and Mary when they lost their brother Lazarus, who in the depth of their misery, reminded them, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).
So, in the midst of many deaths, arising from the passing Covid -19 pandemic, we have something to give us comfort, for the Christ we believe in has overcome death. For all the grieving, let us “ encourage one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4: 3:18) of hope, for Christ has made a spectacle of death.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, where there are trials and troubles, including death, I pray that we keep the faith knowing that all has been overcome by our Lord Jesus Christ; this I pray in in your blessed name!
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel” ( Zechariah 4:10).
The public life of King David is well known. However, there is an early aspect of his life quite hidden though we can get glimpse of it. The first time we get to know David he is a stay home kid while his big brothers are on to bigger stuff, like fighting with King Saul. “Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” ( I Samuel 27:13-14).
Left home alone perhaps it was a time for David to bond with the old man Jesse. Maybe he sometimes felt idle and ignored. But there was something maturing in his life for the life ahead. For in the meantime as he would later point to King Saul once an opportunity availed itself, God was ironing out his CV. When he offered to take on Goliath and Saul hesitated, he quickly shot back: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (vv 35-37).
That’s the point. What had apparent been idle moments God was preparing David for the battles ahead? He would not only emerge out of the shadow as a great warrior but also a shepherd of his people ever relying on God.
Equally so, for all of us, there are moments that might appear idle and we feel frustrated as we see the days go by. Yet, in His gentle ways, God is preparing us for great days ahead.
Prayer today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, for those periods in life of apparent inactivity and maybe trials, help me appreciate them as the maturing me, for in due time and season all will bear fruit, this I pray in Jesus’ name!