Saturday, August 30, 2014

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 sure things in life. But actually, there are a few more. And some are not very pleasant.

How about the certainties of suffering, Taxespain and injustice? After all, it seems so unfair that every day, good people lose their jobs, have serious accidents or are stricken by disease. On the other hand, people who openly mock God and live sin-filled lives often get ahead in life. They cheat, steal, work the system and reap the benefits. Why does God allow it?

The short answer is that we're born with free will to do either right or wrong in the midst a fallen, corrupt world. Paradise on earth was forever ruined that day long ago when Adam and Eve decided to disobey God in the Garden of Eden. And death--both literal and spiritual--have followed mankind ever since. But maybe the question's premise is wrong. After all, is anyone really "good"? Jesus didn't think so.

"Why do you call me good?" Christ once asked a wealthy young man who had inquired what was needed to attain eternal life. "No one is good--except God alone."

In our Creator's eyes, no one is good enough to enter His presence because we've all fallen short in life and violated His laws. He demands absolute perfection. Of course, meeting such a high standard is impossible for you and me. But it's not for God.

What's His solution to mankind's sin-problem? We become perfect in God's eyes when we turn from our old ways and accept Jesus, the only One who lived a flawless, sin-free life. Since Christ obeyed God's laws to the fullest, He was the perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty that we all so rightly deserve. His was the ultimate expression of love that confirmed our salvation. But our acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior is no guarantee against suffering in this lifetime. In fact, the Apostle Peter warned early Christ-followers that they should expect troubles: 

"Dear friends, don't be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing that is like walking through fire."

Whatever that testing might be--whether it's deserved or it's blatantly unfair--we can respond by either giving up or by depending on God through faith to see us through. Real faith will stand strong til the end. But what's false is bound to fail.
Yes, bad things do happen to so-called good people. But God specializes in turning suffering into good by using it to discipline and mature us. What's more, our suffering can become a witness to others. If you're a Christ-follower faced with a God-sized situation, where you place your faith speaks volumes to others. 
As the Bible reminds us, "blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him."

You can count on it.

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