Dear friends, greetings in the blessed Name of our Lord Jesus. I trust that the Holy Spirit is blessing and protecting you. Being blessed by the Lord is a wonderful thing and we can all be thankful for God’s goodness. But we shouldn’t let that cloud our first love – a passion and thirst for God (Rev 2:4). Sometimes God in His Providence allows for things to happen that shake the very ground under our feet. Tragedy and not triumph reveals who and what we truly hold dear. When we’re truly abandoned to God to become Disciples of Christ, we do count the cost (Matthew 16:24, Luke 14:28), but will not be deterred by it (Matthew 19:27).
I’d like for us to turn to Jeremiah 45:5. The life of the Prophet Jeremiah is probably one of the saddest and most tragic stories in the Bible. Jeremiah had been countering the false prophets who had been preaching prosperity and peace, when God had in fact decreed judgment against Israel for its apostasy and idolatry (Jeremiah Chap. 2). In verse 45:5, Jeremiah rebukes Baruch his scribe for wanting peace and stability. God warns him that He was about to destroy that which He had planted. The silver lining in that rebuke was this “but wherever you go, I’ll let you escape with your life.” That is all God promises us: to save our souls (or self). Our property, possessions and even loved ones can be gone in a second. If we start mourning our losses, we become bitter towards God. This was exactly how Job was tested by Satan (Job Chaps. 1-3). Job had a lurking fear of losing God’s blessing (Job 3:25). God had to purify Job’s faith and condition him to let go off things that had him chained to this world.
All of you are probably aware of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a Lutheran pastor in Nazi Germany and was incarcerated by Adolf Hitler for his staunch anti-Nazi stance. Bonhoeffer later died in the Flossenburg concentration camp on April 9, 1945, just two weeks before Allied forces liberated Germany. In his Christian classic “The Cost of Discipleship”, Bonhoeffer recounts his harrowing experience in the concentration camp. One night while praying for freedom, Bonhoeffer noticed that the Bible pages rustled by the wind turned to Jeremiah 45:5 (“….but wherever you go, I’ll let you escape with your life.”). In other words God told Bonhoeffer to brace himself for martyrdom and enter true life in God’s Presence.
A life abandoned to God is prepared for any eventuality (2 Corinthians 11:25) and is ablaze for His glory (Romans 8:18). Our property, possessions, friends and even family members are sometimes under Satan’s control (Job’s 1:12). If we become too attached to them, we risk marring our oneness with God (Matthew 13:22). Past few weeks bled trillions out of the American stock market with the DOW dropping 800 points in a single session. I wonder how many investors lost their money (I hope none). The latest unrest in Hong Kong and gun violence in America seem to have the world on its edge. But as Christians these shouldn’t unsettle us, because the Lord Jesus had already warned us about these (Matthew 24:6). On the contrary, these are the very signs and symptoms of a decaying world that herald the imminent return of our Lord. Our responsibility is to forsake the world and be abandoned to God, and stand firm in our faith (Matthew 24:13). Amen.
Never give in to despair friends. After the painful test comes the blessing. God restored to Job twice as much as he had lost (Job 42:12), and the Lord promised blessing for those of who are abandoned to Him (Luke 18:29-30). Weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing will come in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
Dear friends, I’m quite certain that all of you are sanctified, Holy Ghost baptized saints. Should there be any among you that don’t know the Lord yet, I pray that the Lord of the Universe will set you free from sin and disobedience into His glorious light and freedom. Amen.