In times of fear and loss, live boldly

Categorized as 03/07/11 Goshen News column

In the face of such sorrow and loss, amidst national upheaval and global unrest, how do we keep going?  How do we stay encouraged?  What reason to we have to get up every morning, putting one foot before the other?  Some are saying it’s the end of the age.  Dire predictions abound, striking fear into the hearts of those who listen.  Could it be we’re living in the last days?  It could.  God’s Word tells us the signs that will herald that era.  Even now, we, along with all creation, groan as a woman in the throes of labor, awaiting the return of the One who will establish the new heaven and the new earth.  We know it’s coming, but we don’t know when.  The Bible clearly states that no man knows the day or the hour of His return.  What we do know is this, that He will be with us “even to the end of the age.”  We have His word on that.  We know, too, that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17),” freedom from fear, freedom from anxiety, freedom from paralysis.  Yes, my friends, we’ve been “freed from.” We’ve also (and I need this reminder) been “freed to;” freed to trust, freed to love, and freed to move forward in power.  Know this, too, that you and I have been put in this very place at this particular time in history for a reason.  There is a job to be done, a mission to be fulfilled.  We have been gifted, equipped, empowered, and enabled, we who have believed on the name of Jesus Christ, to accomplish the work.  Shall we now fall back in unbelief, giving way to fear?  No!  Let it not be so.  To those in His day who believed that the kingdom of God was imminent, Jesus told the parable of the minas.  A nobleman, he said, was leaving for a far country.  Before he left, he called his servants to him, giving them each some money to oversee while he was gone. “Occupy.  Do business,” he said, “until I come.” Upon his return, the servants were called before him to give account.  To the ones who had used his resources wisely, he said, “Well done, good and faithful servants.  You will be entrusted with more.”  But to the one who hid the money away in fear, he uttered harsh words of judgment.  “You wicked servant!  Even what you have will be taken away.” The lesson is clear.  We dare not give way to fear, hiding our light and refusing to use our gifts as we await the Nobleman’s return.   We must occupy, doing His business until He comes.  The morning that Debra died, she read this passage to her children:  “I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day (2 Tim. 4: 7, 8a).”  Only hours later, she walked into the presence of Jesus and heard those sweet words, “Well done, you good and faithful servant.” Let us live boldly, you and I, shining His light and doing His work.  Then one day, we, too, shall hear those blessed words and receive the crown that awaits.   

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