Saturday, August 1, 2009

Love God and Enjoy....

Rabbis say that the first question that God will ask at the judgement is: "Did you enjoy the blessings that I gave you?" The old catechism says that the chief end of human beings is to "love God and enjoy him forever." And, yet, when we suffer and hurt, we cast about trying not to drown. Enjoy?

Scott Peck says, in his book The Road Less Travelled, that life is difficult. He adds that life is supposed to be difficult. Alright, we say, then why does it have to be difficult just for me. Life is not difficult for anyone but me. Others have a life of ease; they don't suffer. They don't struggle. Things work out for them. But, my life is filled with toil and trouble and pain.

The Psalmist says: "My foot almost slipped..." when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They do evil and yet, they do not suffer. They get by with life and have it made. And, here I am, a child of God, a follower of Jesus Christ, and I am out of work, or lost, or afraid, or suffering with pain. What do we do? How can we be expected to enjoy anything when...

And, even if we aren't looking at the ease of others and comparing to our own difficulty, we wonder what good faith is, especially in a time like ours, when the economy is in the tank and life is hard for so many good people.

John Bright in his book The Kingdom of God, says that it is pagan to believe that just because we have faith and devotion that we are to be spared difficulty. Pagans of old believed that if they made the right sacrifice and gave the right offering that life would be good. It's the same thing when we think that if we pray the right prayers things will always be good.

No, life is filled with toil and trouble. Just when we think we have it all figured out, things change. We suffer and have trouble. But, faith is our foundation on which to stand even in a storm. We know what the pagans do not know- that even in difficulty, God is with us. Maybe especially in difficulty, the God whom we know in Jesus Christ is powerfully with us and will see us through. There is blessing even in trouble.

Well, how goes it with you? Are you enjoying the blessings that God has given you?
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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