Thursday, December 19, 2013

Life is hard but not hopeless!

            It’s a sad story. It’s hard for me to write about it. Churpie, the canary, never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage, whistling a song, the next he was sucked out of his cage by a vacuum cleaner. She didn’t mean to do it. She was only trying to clean out the seeds from the bottom of the cage when the phone rang. When she reached for the phone, she brought the hose of the vacuum up and suddenly Churpie was gone.
She quickly opened the vacuum and pulled Churpie out of the dust and took him to the kitchen sink where she drenched him in cold water attempting to clean him up. Then she realized that the poor bird was chilled to the bone so she got her hair dryer out  and tried to warm him up. Churpie made it but was never quite the same.
There have probably been times in our life when we felt much like Churpie. Everything is going along just fine and then the bottom falls out. It seems like the problems we face are more than we can bear and we wonder if they will ever end. There is no escaping it. Life is hard.
If you watch the news of late you know how hard life can be. Unemployment is high. College grads can’t find decent jobs. Savings accounts have been depleted. Retirement delayed. Big purchases delayed.
Syria’s civil war, Iran’s threat of going nuclear, continued strife in Iraq and Afghanistan remind us that the threat of terrorism is still out there.
I am sure that you can look at your personal life and find a long list of troubles you could add to the list. Troubled and broken marriages, a rebellious child who is about to get kicked out of school, parents or grandparents with health problems, the death of a loved one, etc. These problems are real. They make our lives hard. But the situation is not hopeless.
Long ago, a man named Job, went through some difficult times. He was a wealthy man who had been richly blessed by God in every way. He had huge flocks and herds, thousands of sheep, camels, oxen, and donkeys. He had many servants, a large family with ten kids, a happy marriage and good health. Life was good.
Then the Lord allowed all that he had be taken from him. He lost his possessions, his children, and his health. At first, Job’s faith was strong. He blessed the Lord even in the midst of adversity. Job also struggled. His friends told him that God was punishing him for something he had done. Job kept asking God ‘why?’ ‘Why was all this happening to him?’
While Job questioned God, he never lost his faith. He knew that the greatest blessing of all was to know God as his savior. Job knew that his sins had been forgiven. Job knew that when this life was over, he would rise from the dead and see God with his own eyes. (Job 19:25ff – I know that my Redeemer lives….and I will see him with my own eyes….”
In the end, God restored to Job all the things he had allowed to be taken from him. Job lived another 140 years. Yet the greatest blessing Job enjoyed was to know his Lord and Savior. In the midst of life’s trials, it is there that we find our hope.