“Holding On to Good Things”
Life is full of ups and downs! There are days when everything seems to go right, and, well, there are those other days, when everything seems to go bad. Sad to say, sometimes those bad days can stretch out even longer than a day, and last for weeks, or months on end. Recently, we’ve been getting a big taste of that. With all the social distancing, stay at home orders, and loss of jobs due to COVID-19 precautions, we long for the “good old days” when things were more like normal.
Since our situation in life can change so dramatically and drastically in such a short time, most of us try to hold on to the good times, and keep them going as long as we can. After all, you only go around once in life, right? You’ve got to get while the getting’s good, because in a flash it could all be gone! And, on top of that, we all know, when our life ends, you can’t take it with you! Put that way, life seems rather precarious. It almost makes you nervous about living, doesn’t it?
As Christians, we’re not immune to such sentiments in life. We too often seek to hold on to good things for as long as we can. Not only in our physical lives, but in our spiritual lives as well! The joy of an uplifting Easter service. The peace of living in the presence of a gracious God. The hope of receiving God’s mercy to help us in our time of need. These are all things we enjoy as believers in Christ, and eagerly desire to hold on to as long as possible in our lives!
In the midst of such efforts though, we need to stop for a minute and ponder. Is the hope, peace, and joy we have in Christ something we need to somehow clutch on to and grasp? As if they too are here today and gone tomorrow? As if we’ve got to enjoy them now, because we can’t take them with us? If so, then these words from 1 Corinthians 15:19,20 have something important to say to us. “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Christ Jesus has risen from the dead. He has risen indeed! That message of Easter shouts out the proclamation that the things we enjoy in this life through faith in Jesus, – our hope, peace, and joy, as well as other things like our comfort and strength. Those things are not something we have to try and horde. They’re not something we have to grasp hold of in an effort to keep them going for us. Because they are NOT just a little part of our life in Christ. They are life itself! In other words, Jesus doesn’t just give them to us when times are good. He gives them to us through those so-called “bad” times as well! In fact, he continues to give them to us even after we die!
So, even in the midst of our present crisis, we live with the joy of knowing that God has freely forgiven us our sins because Jesus cared for us and was willing to die on a cross to save us! We live with the sure and certain hope of knowing that because Jesus has risen from the dead, as we continue to trust in him as our Savior, we have a whole life of good things to look forward to. A life that’s filled with God’s continued care, love, encouragement, support, protection, and abiding presence with us each and every day. No matter what that day might bring! And, we live with the peace of knowing that these blessings won’t stop if we die. They will just continue on for us into heaven forever and ever without end. For the blessings given us in Christ are blessings that we ALWAYS have now, and CAN and DO take with us!
Your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus!
Pastor Paul Krentz