Part (2 of 2): Part 1 title Estranged from the Womb.
Help for Life
Indeed, life is often grievous, full of lamentations, and suffering. The prophet Jeremiah was overwhelmed with emotions. He was compelled to express his cause of confusion before the Lord in a very raw and unfiltered way (Jeremiah 20). There are times when ashes are the only residue of life’s condition. However, it is from such ruins only God can take and transform into something of beauty (Isaiah 61:3). In fact, we see throughout the Bible how God encourages us to cry out to Him!
The truths Jeremiah clung to despite his miseries should strengthen us:
- The Lord is with me (v 11)
- Oppressors will not be victorious (v 11)
- The Lord sees the thoughts and emotions (v 12)
- The Lord delivers life (v 13)
When trouble and mischief shroud our judgment, and feed our fears, there remains a secret place under the shadow of the Almighty. Secret because it seems unseen. A place where truth requires trust, and evil cannot trample the soul. Psalm 91 promises refuge (a dwelling place) and a fortress (a place of security and survival):
- He has set His love on you (Romans 5:8)
- His deliverance is kept for you (1 Peter 1:3-5)
- He knows your name (John 10:3)
- When called, He answers (Ephesians 3:20)
Psalm 91 is the direct opposite of the human made ‘god of convenience’, because God says He is with us IN the troubles to deliver, to honor, to satisfy, and to show salvation. Psalm 91 is a model in how we understand life in a fallen world. A life where we find not just a shadow of death, but also a very present shadow of refuge.
Life has a real salvation.
Though choosing life may seem unbearable, and harmonized with hopelessness of an impossible situation, there exists a cry for, “Help!” to our Creator. Know that Christ has already done for you the impossible, and made certain that life in a fallen world is not the sole and final reality (Luke 18:27; John 3:36). Helpless and hopeless are valid words to describe much of what this life may feel like, but Christ is not either (Hebrews 12:2).
“He died for all, that those who live might
no longer live for themselves but for Him who
for their sakes died and was raised…. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin,
so that in Him we might become the
righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:15, 21
Though culture may permit the “Do what is right in your own eyes” attitude, it cannot escape the real impact that the choices of others, and of our own making, have on our lives. Our perspectives in the moment often fail to accurately portray the future. The issues pertaining to life are bigger than one’s self. Life is not to be valued by experience, but because it is image-bearing. We must realize that what is at stake is an individual’s internal response to God’s Word. The temptation to believe the lie that we have the power to know what is right for us in every situation can blind us from seeing “…He has made a way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Life’s sorrows are not erased by simple solutions. Life’s sorrows are only healed by the salvation that comes from the Author of life (John 1:1-5).
While sin seeks to rule over us, shame and guilt seek to snatch away life from us!
After Adam and Eve sinned, they came out of hiding when the Lord called. Cain, however, left the presence of the Lord, and hid himself from the Lord’s face (Genesis 4:14). Adam and Eve received and “put on” the grace and mercy of the Lord’s covering (Genesis 3:21), whereas Cain became a fugitive and a vagabond from grace and mercy. So we are also given this choice. No matter the gravity of our sin, we must trust that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Otherwise, ‘we raise Cain’ and say “My sin is greater than can be justified” (Genesis 4:13).
The point of the Lord approaching and pursing humanity is simply for the sake of the Gospel. I wonder if the apostle Paul reflected on how his response differed from Cain’s in Genesis 4:10 when the Lord said, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” While Cain rejection salvation in Genesis 4:13; Paul shares his testimony of accepting the Lord’s forgiveness and salvation in 1 Timothy 1: 15-16,
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving
of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came
into the world to save sinners, of whom
I am the foremost. But I received mercy
for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience
as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.”
Church, do not be confused when all around us seems to be crumbling in the wicked’s dust. Remember, John G. Paton’s plea “to teach the ignorant, to protect the tempted, and to rescue the fallen!”
No matter the prevailing issues of our day, our aim in the gospel remains the same.
Though ignorant, we were too…
“… because I did ignorantly in unbelief.” – 1 Timothy 1:13
“…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Him we proclaim warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom; that we may present everyone mature in Christ Jesus.” – Colossians 1: 27b-28
Though tempted, we are still…
“…God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
“For because He Himself (Jesus Christ) has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” – Hebrews 2:18
Though rescued, we serve to rescue the fallen…
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and entices by his own desires.” – James 1:14
“If anyone is caught in a transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you be tempted too.” – Galations 6:1
written by Michelle Kelso Kafer