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Friday, June 13, 2014

Are We Up For This?

This experience that we call 'Life' can be a struggle sometimes! With all the pain & heartache that it engenders, sometimes it would be easier just to not. To just give up on relationships, on living, even on Life itself! Death is a necessary part of life, and one with which life could not go on. If certain things did not die, then certain other things would not receive the necessary sustenance to continue, or even sometimes, to begin! Life is complicated & complex! There are so many factors involved ( often seemingly insignificant ones ) that we are often amazed that it goes on at all!

Life IS a struggle; it IS full of pain &; heartache, but it is also filled with Joy Unspeakable & Full of Glory! The way we approach Life defines our very existence! If we approach Life with no hope for, say, a better tomorrow, then our experience of Life, with all of its heartache & pain, will become dismal & dreary, a drudgery not worth living!

To approach Life, however, in the knowledge that we are living in the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father, makes the living much more blessed. Realizing through all the pain & heartache that all these things are for our good should give us pause to bow before our Heavenly Father & praise Him for His Graciousness, Mercy & Wisdom!

Separation is inevitable! Whether it is a relationship that is not as it should be, a disease or just old age that separates the biological life-force from the body, some sort of separation is bound to occur at some point in this existence. Poor choices often play a part, sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller, in these occurrences, but it is not always our own choice; sometimes it comes as a result of generations of poor choices! Sometimes it may seem to happen 'out of the blue'! However separation occurs, though, we have full assurance, as the Children of our Heavenly Father, 'that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord'!

When the apostle Paul wrote these words of comfort, he & his readers were living at a time when it often meant death just to claim the Name of Christ, and most definitely involved much pain & heartache!

In this day & age, we as Christians do not face anywhere near the danger that Paul & his comrades faced in that day, but we can still receive much comfort that though separation of some sort, and to whatever extent is inevitable in this biological existence, we will never experience separation from our Heavenly Father!

We might often ask ourselves the question, 'are we up to this?' I often, lately especially, as myself this question, usually selfishly! 'Am I up for this?, is a question that many of us have no doubt asked ourselves many times in the past, and will likely ask again in the future. We ARE up for this! No, it usually seems to us that we are not, that the burden we are blessed with is too heavy for us to bear, but when we realize that we do not bear it alone, it becomes a Joy to bear for several reasons. Two of these reasons are that it usually brings us into a close fellowship, not only with our Heavenly Father, through prayer & meditation, but with our fellows, our brethren in the struggle!

As we struggle through this biological existence that we call Kingdom Life, we might remember, first of all, that we are NOT alone! We are living in the Glorious Presence of our Heavenly Father, and we know that He will never leave us nor forsake us; He has taken up Permanent Residence in our Lives! Another reason we are not alone in this struggle is that we are part of a Body, the Body of His Son, and this Body knows our pain, for when Jesus the Son of God, suffered a 'normal' human existence for 30+ years, He learned what it meant to suffer ( and Joy ) in this biology! Now that this Body is made up of those whom He loves, it is as important that we realize & act as an integral member of this Body, for without the sustenance provided by the Body, we will no doubt suffer some sort of separation, at least for a time!

Let us therefore approach this Life that we have been granted with all of our 'gusto', counting it all joy when we fall into various trials & temptations, 'knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience'!

Anything that we face in this Life is nothing to be compared to what Jesus suffered, and when we look at it that way, realizing that we are not alone in our suffering, 'we ARE up to it'; we can do this!

Amen,
Charles Haddon Shank

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