Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Wow! What a summer it has been! It's been a busy, hectic season filled with great times with lots of friends and family, but I'm also ready to get back to a routine. In my spare time, I wanted to focus this summer more on reflection of just what direction I should be taking in some certain areas of my life. Now, with the fall festivals on their way, I think it's high time to put these decisions into action. In this season of repentance and cleansing, I've got a renewed determination to keep my seat in this saddle, right where it belongs.

In my many hours spent in reflection on things this summer, oftentimes I found myself wondering why God allows certain things to happen, and in talking with others, it seems they have the same struggles as well. This is such a common thing to struggle with and I found myself looking for deeper answers than the standard "refining fire for believers" answer, or to prepare us for something to come. I know our Father in heaven loves us and allows us to go through trials so that we can learn things about His nature and become stronger in our walk with Him. I've even learned to rejoice in these trials as He would have us do. These are good and true, but there's more to it than just that.

What about the bigger picture? We can all face personal trials, but what about mankind as a whole? If God knew we were going to fall into sin in the first place, why did He bother? These answers may seem simple to the seasoned believer, but I know many a non-believer that feels God cannot exist simply because of this fact. It is a reasonable question after all. When the non-believer looks at the craziness around us, they see a world filled with bad things but are searching for the meaning in it all. They're not so concerned about grace as they are with justice. Where is there justice in a world so filled with evil? What can we say to them?

When there is no fear of punishment, what a man is at heart cannot be hidden. God allows all this evil to happen because He is patiently waiting for the situation to sort itself out. What a wise and knowing father! After all, He knew what would happen when He created us (the more immediate outcome), but He also knows the FINAL outcome. His patience allows us the time to forget our fear of punishment, which in turn allows our true colors to show through. His patience is long-lasting, but there will come a time of judgement. He is patiently waiting on us to mature...either to mature in His salvation (sanctification), or to allow our sinful state to mature -- and then will come the time of reckoning. I think this understanding is just as reassuring as is the assurance that the grace of God is upon us. It may be fearful to some, but we do serve a just God and I am thankful for that! And thank goodness He is also a God filled with everlasting love, kindness and patience who knows enough to let the situation run it's course.

In the meantime, it's important for believers not to hinder His work here on earth by losing OUR patience. We've just gotta keep on keepin' on, even when times get tough and the saddle sores are wearing down our resolve. We must not "despise the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience; because you don't realize that God's kindness is intended to lead you to turn from your sins," Romans 2:4. He wants to give every last person who's willing the chance to be with us in the world to come and we just need to wait on Him to work all things out.