What are our expectations for the future, and in particular, what are our expectations for the future of the Countryside Baptist family with God at work among us? Whatever our future may be, if we have great expectations, we cannot accomplish those expectations on our own, but with the involvement of God there is nothing we cannot accomplish. Expect great things from God; Do great things for God.
Though my business fails, though I become unemployed, though I lose my home, though my cancer is incurable, though the stock market crashes, though my marriage ends in divorce, though my friends forsake me, though my dreams die, though my husband is murdered, though my wife runs off with another man, though my health deteriorates – yet will I worship the Lord. What if? How will you survive?
I love stories with happy endings. Yet, how do we handle life when happy endings don’t come? What happens when no rescue takes place? What happens when the alcoholic does not sober up? What happens when a marriage ends in divorce? What happens when cancer takes the life of its victim? What happens when a teenager does not come home to parents? Such questions not only stand at the heart of Habakkuk’s book, but they also plague our own lives. What then?
Through twelve verses, James offered information from God concerning the trials of life, that is, the outward circumstances that rail against us. In verse 13, James switched direction and began to instruct his readers, not about attacks from without, but attacks from within. He addressed the inner solicitation to evil that is characteristic in all of us. Unbelievably, James’ readers believed that God was responsible not only for the temptations they faced but for their own propensity to sin. Is that what you believe? If not, just how do you deal with temptation and its results?
Poverty for first century believers was more the rule than the exception. Consequently, one might think that James would offer some stinging statements condemning poverty – he did not. One might think James would have ragged on the wealthy about giving to the poor – he did not. One might think that James would have set forth a plan for upward movement from one socio-economic class to another as the solution to the fiery trial of poverty – he did not. Then, what did he do?
Does God really expect us to be joyful in the hardships of life? It’s difficult enough to force a faint smile when we face minor irritations, but to use the word joy when enduring the desert-like experiences is beyond reason. Surely, this can’t be right, can it? Is there method in seeming madness of God? You just might be surprised.