Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Death and Taxes

If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on good people and on evil people, and he sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong.

-- Matthew 5:45

Death and taxes.

If you believe the old saying, they’re the only two things in life that we can count on. But actually, there are several more. And they’re not particularly pleasant.

How about the certainties of pain and injustice? After all, it seems so unfair that every day, good people lose their jobs, have serious accidents or are stricken by incurable diseases. And on the other hand, people who openly mock Jesus and live sin-filled lives always seem to get ahead in life and prosper. They cheat and steal and reap the benefits. So if there’s really an all-powerful and just God, why does He allow it?

The first thing to remember is that we live in a fallen, corrupt world. Paradise on earth was forever ruined that day long ago when Adam and Eve willfully disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. Death—both literal and spiritual—has followed mankind ever since. The second consideration is that no one is truly “good.” That’s because we all sin and fall short of God’s impeccable standards.

“Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked a rich young ruler who inquired what he needed to do to obtain eternal life. "No one is good—except God alone.”
(Of course—since God came to earth in human form through Jesus—the would-be Christ-follower was actually right when he called Jesus “good”!)

But even those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior can expect their fair share of pain and suffering in this life. In fact, they can count on it. As St. Peter wrote to some of the earliest Christians:

“Dear friends, don't be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing that is like walking through fire.”
Whatever the test is—whether we deserve it or it’s blatantly unfair—we can respond by either giving up or by depending on our faith in God to see us through. Real faith will stand strong to the end. But what's false is bound to fail.

Yes, bad things happen to seemingly good people. And as Christ-followers, we should expect a lifetime of them in one form or the other. The secret to overcoming our adversities is how we respond to them. And Who we depend on.

It’s what defines us as Jesus’ followers. As the Bible puts it, "blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him."

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