Amazwana

 

Real Faith and Irrelevant Pretty Notions

Ngu Jared Buss

Jesus raises Jairus's daughter.

When things go wrong, either in our personal lives or in the world around us, religion can start to seem irrelevant. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that it starts to feel like a useless hope. It feels like baggage that we no longer have a reason to carry around. Religious teachings can start to seem like meaningless ideals, and religious practices can feel futile. We might look at the messes in our lives and say, “My ideals haven’t stopped this from happening.” Or we might see tragedy and chaos on the news and say, “How is going to church going to change this?”

But all of this thinking is backwards. Religion isn’t a luxury item. It isn’t something that we ornament our lives with to testify that life is going great. It isn’t a beautiful thing that we do because we’re beautiful people. If religion is what it’s meant to be, then it only becomes more relevant the more things fall apart.

The clearest proof of this is the Lord’s well-known statement: “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17). People are so easily carried away by the idea that religion is for righteous people, but the Lord says “not so.” And good thing too—because where are these righteous people anyway? He came here for the sinners. He came to earth for the people who have created messes in their lives—not to congratulate them, but to help them. To save them.

This is why there are so many hard teachings in the Word. The Lord tells us how to fight spiritual battles—how to shun the evils that we unearth within ourselves. If we expect religion to be a beautiful adornment for beautiful people, these teachings are jarring. They’re a bit like a first aid course. Who wants to spend time thinking about injuries? If life was just a Saturday afternoon in an armchair, there would be no need to think about such things. It’s when something goes wrong that the value of first aid training hits home. Likewise, if we believe that nothing much is wrong with anything or anybody, it’s hard to understand why the Lord has so much to say about repentance. But if evil is real, it all makes sense. That bad stuff is what He’s trying to save us from. It’s why He tells us so many times that we need Him—we need His power. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:30, 31).

None of this means that we’re supposed to have a negative outlook on life. The Word isn’t there simply to teach us that hard times are real and that we need to be saved. The message of the Word is that the Lord can give us joy in spite of the hard stuff—in spite of the evil—if we let Him. He says: “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:22). That’s not just some high-flying ideal. It’s a lot more powerful than the notion that life should be pretty. If the Lord is being “real” when He talks about the gritty and painful things—about loneliness and loss—then maybe He’s also being “real” when He promises that He can comfort us.

Much of the world seems to believe that religion is increasingly irrelevant. The world seems to say that religion hasn’t cured us of anything, so it’s a dead weight that the human race can dispense with. But this is backwards. The teachings of the Word are relevant because the world needs healing. This healing isn’t just something we can seek out for ourselves—it’s something we can share, if we have the courage. When we do this, we aren’t sharing a happy little ideal. We shouldn’t point to religion as something that’s merely “interesting.” We’re talking about the most real things in life—about struggle and sorrow, and joy that will transcend them.

IBhayibheli

 

John 16

Funda

   

1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?

6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?

18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.

26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:

27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.