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In Christ

Photo of john braunAll will be well. As Christians we sometimes think that we are surrounded by the protective bubble of God’s care and nothing bad ever happens. How often we experience and witness moments that teach us a different lesson! God—even a loving and gracious God—does not exclude us from the conditions of this evil, turbulent, and troublesome place.

We seem to struggle so hard to make it all well. But our best plans lie shredded by the harm and tragedy that change our lives unexpectedly. It may come from disease, accident, or the evil intent of others. We wipe the tears that run down our cheeks with the back of our hands. Then those hands hang limp, quiet and helpless in our laps. It appears that all will not be well.

We easily forget what the apostle Paul said to the early Christians, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Why is that so? Our sinful human nature bombards our minds and hearts with the idea that it’s God’s fault for making this world, our lives, and the lives of those we hold dear so miserable. We are born hostile to God and oppose what he says. Sadly, the sidewalks that lead to our churches and the message of grace are sometimes silent witnesses of those who have left in their hardships, never to return.

Two words identify a much different view and clarify what Christians hold on to so dearly in sorrow, loss, and pain: in Christ. Those two words identify a vital connection we have with Christ—a connection those who do not trust Christ cannot understand and often not only reject but also oppose.

We are in Christ. That is a vital connection as we take our daily steps through life.

When the Holy Spirit gives us faith, he establishes that connection to Christ. We believe in Christ, and we “belong to Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:6). We are forgiven, loved, and “made . . . alive with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5). We don’t think the way the rest of the world thinks.

When we hurt or see others hurt deeply, yes, we sometimes ask why God brings us—his chosen people—tears and sorrow. Our connection to Christ teaches us that God’s reasons are often as different as the people who suffer. We struggle to understand yet often find his ways confusing and difficult. In Christ, we are children who do not always grasp our Father’s wisdom.

At a minimum, we shed tears and reach out in compassion to those who suffer. God asks us to love them in the same way he loved us in Christ. Those who hurt desperately need our love.

We also know from experience, as Moses did, that the best of our days are trouble and sorrow (Psalm 90:10). In those days, God steers us not just to see the trials and pain. He challenges us to look beyond—to recognize that “here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). Even when our bodies slowly deteriorate, he challenges us to trust that he will “transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).

We are in Christ. That is a vital connection as we take our daily steps through life. As we face personal tragedies, family turmoil, even nagging doubts, the vital principle is that we are connected to Christ who wants us to be with him forever. In Christ, we can take the next difficult step until he brings us home.

In Christ. Yes, only two words, but how rich they are.

John Braun Signature

 

 

 

Author: John A. Braun
Volume 109, Number 02
Issue: February 2022

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This entry is part 11 of 46 in the series a-thought

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