Pushing the Restart Button

As I continue in my daily struggle with all things computerized, I have learned the joyful bliss of pushing the restart button.  Restarting stops everything, shuts the computer down, and resets the system.  The restart almost always fixes the problem.  I sometimes wish life came with a restart button.

This got me thinking of all the ways we use the restart in life:

  • When there’s an error on my computer – If you’ve ever had that “blue screen of death” telling you that a fatal error has occurred, you know the wonder of the restart.  If your system updates or crashes, a restart is usually always in order.
  • When someone false-starts in a race – You’ve seen it in the Olympics, or you’ve been there yourself: on the starting line, ready for the race to start.  Just before the gun fires, someone false-starts, and everyone is called back to the starting line to try one more time.
  • In terms of foreign and domestic relations – Much was said last year about pushing the restart button in our conversations with other nations, setting a new tone in diplomacy and dialogue.  Sometimes we need to push that button in our own homes, deciding to start afresh when dealing with long-standing conflict.

Do we have a restart with God?  There are times when each of us has gone astray from God, wandered from His way, stopped listening to His word.  Is it possible to “restart” with God, to stop, go back, and reset our lives in a way that our problems will be solved?

There is, but it’s not as easy as simply pushing a button.  God does offer us a second chance, and a third, a fourth, etc… but it comes at with a price.  For us, the chance to restart with God came at the cost of God’s Son, our savior Jesus Christ.  In His love for us, Jesus paid for our sin and guilt, and through His cross, so that we can have new life.  His grace is so sufficient, His love so enduring, His sacrifice so complete, there is nothing that we have done, nor anything we can do, that He cannot overcome.  If you need a Restart today, know that by trusting in the grace and mercy in Jesus Christ, you can start anew with God.

SDG

A Theology of Suffering

“So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…”  
II Cor. 4:16-17

This week I’ve heard from several brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling and suffering from sickness, disease, and hard times.  I just want to remind you that God is faithful and good, and that nothing we face can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.  In fact, it is often in the midst of hardship that we come to know the love of God in a more personal, sustaining, and soul satisfying way. 

I thought I’d share with all of you some thoughts on suffering, as detail by Murray Harris in The New International Greek Testament Commentary on II Corinthians:  In II Corinthians 1:3-11, several principles emerge from Paul’s discussion:

  1. Suffering patiently endured deepens our appreciation of God’s character, in particular his limitless compassion and never-failing comfort (1:3-4).
  2. Suffering drives us to trust God alone.  Paul’s desperate plight had undermined his self-reliance and compelled his total dependence on a God who raises the dead and therefore can rescue the dying from the grip of death (1:9).
  3. Suffering brings identification with Christ.  Paul could identify his sufferings as the “sufferings of Christ” (1:5) probably because they befell him as a “person in Christ” (12:2) who was engaged in the service of Christ (4:11).  They were Christ’s sufferings because they contributed to the fulfillment of the suffering destined for the body of Christ or because Christ continued to identify himself with his afflicted church.
  4. The experience of God’s comfort in our sufferings qualifies, equips, and obliges us to comfort others undergoing any type of suffering (1:4, 6).  The apostle’s thought seems to imply four stages: Paul’s own sufferings (= Christ’s sufferings) (1:4), his experience of God’s comfort mediated through Christ (1:5), the Corinthians’ sufferings, and their experience of God’s comfort mediated through Paul (1:6-7). 
  5. Suffering is not forever.  In comparison with the weighty and eternal glory that is produced by suffering patiently endured, suffering is relatively insignificant and momentary (4:17).  Glory follows suffering.

Don’t lose heart!  Keep your eyes fixed on that eternal glory that God has promised and we know in Jesus Christ our Lord!

Grace and peace,

SDG