We (Mandy and I) know that there is nothing special about us in comparison to anyone else. We are broken and sinful and, most days, we experience that truth to the core of our lives. So many people have spoken kind and timely words to us. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! The truth, though, is that we are desperate for God's grace and goodness in our lives each day, each hour, each second. We fall apart when we're not depending on Him and others.
Some of you have wondered why this has happened to us. Why little, precious Jude? Some of you don't think this seems fair. I hope you'll consider Jesus' response when he was asked something similar.
Jesus was with crowds of people and they were questioning Him about why bad things happen to people. Jesus specifically mentions eighteen people who died when a tower fell on them. "Did they do something to deserve this?" the people asked. In essence, they wondered, "Why them?" Jesus' response most likely was a shock to his listeners, "No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish!"
Recently, as I've pondered Jesus' answer to the crowd's question of "Why?", I've come to see the wisdom in his response. He doesn't give them a direct answer as to why suffering happens, just how we should respond when it does happen. Jesus' first response of "No" is meant to show us that tragic things can come to people regardless of whether they are good or bad in the eyes of the world.
Then Jesus says that at least one way we should respond to tragedy, from the tsunami in Japan to the Hurricanes on the East Coast to the suffering of little children like Jude, is to WAKE UP from our slumber toward God. That's why Jesus uses the word repent. Tragedies remind us that life is fragile, we aren't guaranteed our next breath and that we will all die (whether at a young or old age or somewhere in between). Because that is true, Jesus warns, get right with God now and then get on His path for your brief life! Rethink and remake your priorities now. Don't wait until tomorrow. Turn away from the things we have our fingernails dug into so tightly and begin opening our hands to receive all that Christ wants to give. "Cease striving and know that I am GOD." Psalm 46:10
The ironic thing is that getting right with God, just as the verse above alludes to, is more dependent on our ceasing some things than doing something. We can stop performing for God and others. We can stop trying to make everyone happy with us because He is already pleased with us in Christ. We can stop worrying about what others think because it truly, deeply matters most what He thinks. If we are in Christ, if we are trusting His perfect record before God and not our imperfect attempts at pleasing God, then we can finally relax and rest in Him.
This is exactly what's happening to us. He's waking us up. Our grip on the things of this world are lessening. Thank you, Lord! We are savoring Jesus more and more. Because of that He is giving us more and more love for and enjoyment in Jude (and others too). As we've said many times, we don't know how much time we have with him. What we are learning is that we need to enjoy each moment with Jude and view it as a precious gift. What a gift he is!
Would you join us in the prayer below? We're so thankful for you!!!
Lord Jesus, continue to WAKE US UP! Let us not live in a kind of slumber and fog that guarantees we will primarily live for trivial things when there's so much more, when there's You. Amen!