See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1

Our principal’s husband spoke at chapel on Friday.  He engaged the students (12-18 year olds) by first painting a picture of his uncomfortable high-school years.  I’m sure some of them can identify with feeling shy and wanting to belong to some group, any group!  John, today a high-energy extraverted salesman, found a home in high school among the drama kids.

Toward the end of his talk, which dealt with the life-long struggle with sin, he mentioned that taking the Gospel into painful situations is the key to the temptations of sin.  He offered a scenario sure to resonate with teens: enduring conflict and difficult conversation with one’s parents.  As I sat in the audience, I waited for him to explain exactly how one ‘takes’ the Gospel into problems.

All of a sudden I got it!  Being a child of God MEANS we have a lot to look forward to that is 100 % certain. Our status and our inheritance are guaranteed by Jesus’ covenantal shed blood.  Knowing that our future is going to be full of pleasure & joy, we can endure more easily life’s frequent bouts of ‘affliction, disappointment, hardship, inconvenience and pressure’ (Romans 5: 3).

This faith in future grace reminds me of a Tim Keller story (Pastor, Redeemer Church in NYC). Two men were hired to muck out a stable for a time-certain period.  The contract with one was for a paltry sum of money.  The contract with the other was for a million dollars.  Same dirty, smelly work but different future rewards.  The one griped, the other whistled.  What made the difference?  The knowledge of what was waiting for each.

That thought prompted my mind to slip over to 2 verses that I’ve memorized, my new twin pillars to keep me steady in the midst of ever-changing circumstances:

Christ in you, the hope of glory, Col 1:27…..(Christ in ME, the assurance of future joy, pleasure, satisfaction, love, celebration, peace….)

But our light and momentary afflictions are achieving an eternal weight, an abundance of glory that far outweighs them all,  2 Cor 4:17…..(Yes, each day brings pain and uncertainty.  That’s the nature of living in a fallen world.  But God’s word assures me that there is a purpose and a payoff for the trials…).

These verses are just 2 of many promises meant to sustain us, to support us, to keep us from falling down under tribulation.

I think that is what John Lane meant by ‘taking the Gospel’ with you when you face trials.

Again, it’s what you know that makes all the difference.

Our Father, remind us what it means to love you with all our mind and give us the will and strength to do so.  Amen