When Jesus walked on the earth, people who entered the temple to worship brought offerings to God. These involved a sacrifice of value — an unblemished lamb as atonement for their sins.
Today we go to God, not on the basis of anything we have to offer, but because of the offering Jesus Christ made of Himself for us at Calvary. But God’s interest in you does not begin and end at Calvary’s cross. His loving intent toward you is one of constant care.
Sometimes this is serene; other times it involves seasons of brokenness. Many of the Old Testament saints faced trials and tests far beyond their human ability. One of the greatest rewards of their struggles is that they prepare us to worship and serve God, to die to self and live for Jesus.
We learn to come before His throne in humble obedience and not out of prideful self-assurance. Brokenness is a blessing, and God always blesses those who suffer in obedience to His call.
You may be going through a particular difficult time right now, and wondering if God cares or even hears your pleas for help. Take a moment to think through the things that make you contented: material gain, the company of others, personal recognition, financial security. While each of these can bless us, they should never be our source of contentment.
If you are searching for true joy, there is only one route to take. The apostle Paul wrote, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Corinthians 4: 7-10).
There is nothing remarkable in us, we are in ourselves poor, frail fragile creatures, like earthen vessels of no particular value, yet this we do not regret, for there is a good reason for it. If anyone wishes for an easy time of it they must not become a minister of the Gospel. If they are determined to preach it faithfully, fully, simply, straight from their heart, they will often find themselves in such circumstances as the apostle Paul.
While troubles and problems may surround us, we do not have to be overwhelmed by them. With Christ Jesus we never are at a loss, or have doubt not to know or question which way to go, what to do or say. God never forsakes His children. He is always there to give us His presence and power. Everyone has problems and some people have more problems than others. There is never a promise in the Bible for a life free of problems but rather God promises to see us through our problems.
Problems produce character. Character is what we have when we lose everything else. Problems help us encourage others. God has a way of bringing good out of problems. God can use the problems and hardships that we experience to help others. Problems help us to gain a small understanding of what Jesus went through to secure our salvation. Paul clearly tells the Corinthian church that the treasure they have is the personal presence of Jesus in their lives. Problems help us draw closer to God. We can view our problems as stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks and this will build our faith and help us get through them.
The treasure is the power of the resurrection. And that same power is working in our lives today. God’s light shines in the darkness. When you give yourself to Him completely, that light will illuminate your path and bring genuine peace.
Lord, we thank You for Your promise to always be with us. May we, Your children use our experiences in life to help others on their journey. Continue to use us in Your service and for Your Glory alone. With Jesus we can make it. Amen.