LENT Day 30 – Trials

But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you. – John 15

This morning I took a walk with my two dogs.  I left each of my family members working or online learning at home.  Just me at the pups.  This pandemic has been such a trial for so many people on so many levels.  It’s difficult to adjust to a new normal when you just want the old normal back.  So today I stole a moment of solitude.

What I noticed on our walk, was how eerily quiet it was.  We live in a small city that is heavily wooded.  It’s quieter then a regular suburban city.  However today when I was by myself and not talking, I noticed how extra quiet it was.  There were only a few cars, so the noises of nature seemed to be on maximum volume.  Everywhere I went, I seemed to hear running water.  I would turn around and notice a creek, pond, or water run off that I never had before.  Two of the photos above are from my walk.

The running water really got me thinking that no matter what is happening to you personally, life is still flowing.  For me personally I know that today God has gifted me another day of health.  God has gifted me with the warmth of the sunshine.  God has gifted me with a home and food on my table.  So many gifts that continue to be provided.  Even amongst the pandemic.

It is during the time of our next story, where Jesus is informing his children about the trials that they will endure in the future.  Because of him and their belief in him.  He doesn’t sugar coat how hard it will be.  This story is called Hated by the World.  It’s short but packed with hardships.  We have to wait for chapter 16 to understand exactly why he tells us these things.

“If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got it’s start hating me.  If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own.  But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.

“When that happens, remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters.  If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you.  If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them.

“They are going to do all these things to you because of the way they treated me, because they don’t know the One who sent me.  If I hadn’t come and told them all this in plain language, it wouldn’t be so bad.  As it is, they have no excuse.  Hate me, hate my Father – it’s all the same.  If I hadn’t done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn’t be to blame.  But they saw the God-signs and hated anyway, both me and my Father.  Interesting – they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it is written, ‘They hated me for no good reason.’

“When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes – the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father – he will confirm everything about me.  You, too, from your side must give your confirming evidence, since you are in this with me from the start.”

I have heard so many stories of people suffering, dying and recovering from COVID-19.  Stories on the news and on social media outlets.  Stories about strangers and stories about people that are friends or family of those I know personally.  During this time of trial it will become very difficult to face the reality that we may lose a loved one while our close friend’s family member will recover and survive.  It may seem like God isn’t there at times.  But He is friends.  No matter what happens, He is there.  He will never leave us in our grief or in our joyful praises.

That is the beauty of  our faith.  It is that faith that allows us to face anything.  We can lean on God when we don’t understand.  We can shout at God when we are angry.  We can shelter in God’s embrace when we are scared or grieving.  And we can sing praises to God when we see glimpses of blessings in our day.  And like the running water I saw today; through all of our trials, we can rest assured that the water of God’s love will continue to rush and flow as it always does.  Guiding us and loving us just as we need.

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