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Solid Food, Part 1

May 9, 2012

Baby bottles, Author Marianna (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

“For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5: 13-14).

Too many Christians are unschooled in their faith.  They are, in effect, still babes.  Because of this, their faith is not the comfort to them it could be, and not the example to others it should be.

Confronted by the harsh realities of this existence, immature Christians are at first surprised that God has not shielded them from the pain and hardship to which mankind is liable, then angered at having been sold what they view as a bill of goods about Him.

  • Surely, Christians are not subject to cancer or plague; do not suffer amputation, blindness or other devastating illness or physical impairment.
  • Surely, Christians do not struggle with depression, anxiety or other mental disorders.
  • Surely, Christians do not have miscarriages; their children are not born with birth defects, do not die before reaching majority.
  • Surely, Christians are never in the path of tornadoes and other natural disasters.
  • Surely, they are not involved in auto accidents, plane crashes, and other results of fatal human error.
  • Surely, Christians are not the victims of bombings, rapes, and other acts of deliberate violence.

Most Christians would recognize these assumptions as mistaken.  Many though would ask why they, themselves, should be subject to any of these trials. “Why me, Lord?” is a familiar refrain.  We are so self-important we feel ourselves entitled to call the Lord God Almighty to task.

Still, how can all this evil be reconciled with a loving God who promises us care and protection?  Why do the good suffer?  That is the fundamental question with which mankind has wrestled throughout the ages.  It may be the single question over which most have stumbled.

He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.  You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday” (Ps. 91: 4-6).

Are these words true?  Can God be trusted?

If we expect to be exempt from every harm, rescued from every danger by virtue of the fact we are Christian, we will be badly disappointed.  Jesus, Himself, said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9: 23).  That is a promise of suffering, diametrically opposed to the claims of easy fame, fortune, and miraculous cures many televangelists hold out as lures to the unwary.

The hard truth is that this is a hard world. We are living in the ruins of Paradise, often doing our best to destroy what remains.  The “fairness” we demand of God assumes a perfect world that does not exist.  Sin has already had its impact on Creation.  Our vaunted righteousness is like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64: 6).

Even in an imperfect world, however, God remains Sovereign.  We owe Him our very existence, whether we choose to acknowledge that or not.

The adversary, of course, has all this flawed world can offer at his disposal. Power, influence, wealth, and acclaim are among Satan’s enticements.  But the evils of this world betray his true intent. He pursues the destruction of mankind, for the sole purpose of causing pain to the God who loves us.

Satan seeks to demonstrate that mankind will not love, will not believe in or obey God, if deprived of His blessings – health, home, livelihood, loved ones, and ultimately life, itself.  This challenge hinges on free will – another gift from God. But God is certain of the outcome; He knew it before ever time began.

Salvation is the proof that love is stronger than hate.  Our Lord, Himself, suffered what we suffer.  Over and above that, He took our iniquities upon His shoulders.  His sacrifice won the war in which we engage.

Our struggles evidence God’s glory – not some distant God, uninvolved with His Creation, but the Son of Man who became human and gave His life for us.  God’s capacity to overcome the most egregious damage, use even evil for good, is demonstrated in our lives.  We but follow in His footsteps.  That makes our suffering infinitely valuable…which is one thing Paul would call solid food.

This series will continue next week with “When God Is Silent”


From → Christian, Faith, Religion

  1. Anna, the way that you worded this has helped to clear up some of the confusion that has had me spinning and wondering, what on earth is going on!? Thank you!

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