Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Rest of the Story

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

-- 2 Corinthians 12:10

Paul Harvey’s remarkable career in radio spanned eight decades and began while he was still in high school. His broadcasts were heard on about 1,500 radio stations and his commentaries appeared in hundreds of newspapers. No doubt he was best known for a segment of his program called The Rest of the Story: a five-minute, true-life narrative that always concluded with a surprising – and often uplifting – twist revealing greater meaning and purpose in an otherwise mundane or difficult situation.

The Rest of the Story maintained its popularity over the years because it always resonated with Harvey’s millions of listeners. They readily identified with the famous announcer’s depictions of the unpleasant realities and struggles faced by the common man (and woman).

What unpleasant realities have you had to face? Whatever they are, it’s a fact of life that you can count on enduring more. Sometimes they come out of the blue, like a car accident or a natural disaster. And others might be more of our own making, like an arrest for drunk driving or the agony of a broken marriage. The difference for Christ-followers, however, is that we have access to a personal Power who’s here to help us get through the hardest of times. We worship a caring God who gives us both faith and hope.

In fact, ours is a God who specializes in taking the worst situations and turning them toward good. For instance, the first Christ-followers were hunted down, arrested and sometimes executed for worshipping Jesus. But this only caused the new, upstart faith to spread far and wide from Jerusalem and into Asia and Europe. And what can we learn from the Apostle Paul’s life-story? Although he spread the Gospel across the Mediterranean and made many converts, he spent years in jail before his eventual execution. This might sound to some like great wasted potential. Couldn’t God have kept Paul free so he could preach to thousands more and establish other churches in distant lands?

Yes, God could. But He had a much better plan for advancing the name of Jesus. While Paul was in shackles, he spent his time writing much of what we know today as the New Testament -- words of truth that God has used over the centuries to turn millions of men and women away from their destructive lifestyles and over to abundant lives and eventual eternal life.

The saying goes that uncertainty is the only thing certain in life. But as Christ-followers, we can rest assured each day. That’s because ours is a God who already knows The Rest of the Story.

No comments: