For Lord’s Day, April 13, 2014
If I may get a little ahead of where we are in our Sabbath Class with Elder Huffmaster on John MacArthur’s book, Anxious for Nothing, two nuggets on getting through suffering patiently were really helpful for our family this week, which I want to encourage you to make frequent use of through your trials as they come.
First, in chapter 3, “Casting Your Cares on God”, he points out something really helpful with 1 Peter 5:6-7: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you:
“The word translated ‘casting’ was used to describe throwing something on something else, such as a blanket over a pack animal (e.g., Luke 19:35). Take all your anxiety–all the discontent, discouragement, despair, questioning, pain, and suffering that you’re going through–and toss it all onto God.” (60)
This insight has been extremely helpful for us. In particular, when we visualize taking a blanket off of ourselves and laying it on Jesus’ back, Who only truly can bare it for us. I don’t mean to sound mechanical or magical, but I suppose it is mystical–or rather, Spiritual with a capital “S”. The Holy Spirit really does remove the feeling of pressure when we visualize taking our burden off of us and putting it onto Jesus (and praying to that effect that it would be so). Now, we have to do this on more than one occasion, but it helps a lot. It will help you when you need help giving over your burdens to Jesus so that you can take His upon you, which is light.
Second, in chapter 4, “Living a Life of Faith and Trust”, as we ask for our daily bread, let’s look at every day as a victory at the end of the day:
“What awaits us at the finish line of the race of faith? Joy and triumph. Jesus endured the cross ‘for the joy set before Him’ (Heb. 12:2). Any athlete will tell you that there’s nothing equal to the thrill of winning. It isn’t the medal or the trophy or anything else–it’s just the winning, the exhilaration of victory … Ultimately, our real joy and reward as believers is to be in heaven with Christ, but here and now we can experience a great sense of triumph when we have victory over temptation.” (70)
It has been really helpful to recognize (with Romans 8 becoming even more real for us) that every day is a victory, and can be celebrated as such. Every day we get through our trials and do not curse God but praise Him, and do not stay huddled in a corner but hug each other and get out there and take in life, every day we fight the temptation of fear and worry and choose to keep our eyes on Jesus asking for more faith, we are more than conquerors. We win. Every day is a battle of the cosmic war of Gen. 3:15, and every day we do not give in, we win. Every day we fight the good fight, albeit with battle scars to show for it, we can thank God for the thrill of not being beaten by Satan; yes, by His glorious grace, but not excluding our willingness to duke it out as good soldiers. This effort again is not magical or mechanical — it is just real and Scriptural and blessed by the Spirit.
These lessons have been very meaningful for us this week, and I trust they will prove meaningful for you, beloved, as you cast your cares upon Jesus and keep your eyes on Him and look forward to putting another notch in the “W” column before you go to bed. It’s the best way to live, whatever the Lord’s hand lays upon us to humble us before He exalts us. It gives real comfort and real joy that Satan can never steal. One day at a time.