Thursday, July 23, 2015

What If Jesus Never Did Another Thing For Me?

Hey Friend,
Lately, I've been in a bit of a funk due to some physical ailments.  I've already recuperated from two major surgeries - one successfully and the other has left me with permanent nerve damage.  I feel like I came to grips with my new limitations and had started back into exercising and going to the gym with the expectation of I'll do what I can do and hopefully things will get better. 
Now I am being plagued by problems with the knee that was operated on.  I began experiencing sharp stabbing pains and could not walk.  Couple that with blood work that said I was dangerously anemic and would most likely need a blood transfusion and I felt like a fatigued, exhausted zombie who couldn't walk without chronic pain.  I'm sure others were getting sick of my complaining!
But Lord, what about your plans to prosper me and not to harm give me a hope and a future? (Jeremiah 29:11)
In my self-pity I had fallen into the comparison trap (a temptress that leads to disaster).  I saw others who basically did nothing to further the Kingdom of God; they only pursued their own self-satisfying desires, and yet they prospered.  Like a little child, I read off my list of things I was doing to advance His Kingdom and pouted because I found myself in a pickle.  Pretty pathetic don't you think? But, even while I was busy licking my wounds, God found a way to reach me...
I am reminded of Matthew 5:45:  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Furthermore, Paul exhorts the Philippians in Philippians 4:19:  "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."
I am reminded by these three scriptures that God's plans to proper me and give me hope and a future are on His time, not mine.  Though my plans are finite, God's plans are eternal.  We limit a "hope and a future" to this lifetime, whereas, God may be referring to our eternal lifetime. 
God's love is no respecter of persons.  He meets out His goodness and love on all his children.  We don't earn His love and goodness, nor do we earn or deserve the sun that rises or the rain that pours. 
God meets all my needs not all my wishes.  I often get the two confused.  His all encompassing grace is sufficient for all that I need...God makes no promises about what I want. 
These lessons have all been hard to swallow at times, but necessary for the growth of my character.
God truly cares more about my character than my happiness. 
I know that I will be perpetually happy in heaven, but to get through this lifetime, and to be trained up for Kingdom work in eternity, I need character.
Lately, when I want to put on praise music, my "go to" cd is by Christian artist Christy Nockels and is entitled "Let It Be Jesus".  While listening to the song, "If You Never", I experienced a strong and convicting question well up within my heart.  Here are the lyrics of the main chorus:
If You never did another thing for me
It will always be enough that You set me free
Always be enough that You gave Your life
Jesus, You are mine.

It really made me think...if I never completely healed, if the pain was not gone for good, would it be enough that Jesus died a horrific death on the cross to set me free and give me an eternity in paradise?  Whoa!!
Jesus, who has already answered the only real need that I have - to dwell in my heart, to live in relationship with me, and to save me from the pits of hell was asking me...Bev, is it enough???
Especially here in the US, we tend to have a large list of wishes, and even as Christians, we can fall into the "entitlement trap".  If you're a Christian, then God should prosper you and if He doesn't, well then He must be holding out on you. Nothing could be further from the truth. 
God giving His son to die on the cross for me is all that I need and is entirely enough for me.  All other blessings are icing on the cake.
When I began to look at it from this vantage point, the list of complaints began to fade.  My gratitude increased, and a shout of praise and thanks rose up from my heart and my lips. 
I believe this is why Christians who live in very impoverished countries can live with such joy.  They don't have the entrapping snare of wants and wishes, but have the true joy of the only One they need - Jesus!!  
How about you?  Would you be content if Jesus never did another thing for you? 
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me so much that you would rather see your only Son perish than to live forever without me.  Help me to truly appreciate what a sacrifice this was and not to trivialize it.  May the pure grace of this selfless act so dwell in my heart that I would be continually filled with joy and thanks.  Enable me to focus not on what I want, but what I need...let that be enough for me. Thank you that you bless me way beyond my wildest imagination. Thank you that I don't have to be perfect to come to you and receive your goodness...I can come just as I am and you will perfect me.  In your precious name, Jesus, I pray.  Amen.
Ps.  I will be taking a break next week for some R & R.  I invite you to browse the Archives for any posts you might have missed.
Important Update on Redeemer Christian School:  To insure that our doors will remain open and our school be a place of refuge, we are seeking commitment in the form of sponsorship for current students at RCS.  By having the commitment for current students it will then let us offer refuge to new students. 
Meet Salman (Age 7)

This is about the age that Islamic extremists begin recruiting impoverished and impressionable young boys into jihad seminaries.  There, their eyes and ears are filled with grandiose thoughts of someday sacrificing themselves for jihad. They are priming the pump with future generations of terrorists.
Redeemer Christian School offers a different God who is filled with grace and mercy.  This is the God and Jesus, the Savior, that Salman is learning about. He is being surrounded by love. He is poor and destitute and at such a tender age was slaving away as a brick maker at the city's brick kiln.  For just $10/month or $120/for the year you can keep Salman in school.  If you would like to sponsor him or other current students, please contact me:
or send contributions to:  Bev Rihtarchik (put RCS in the memo line)
                                           103 Silver Lining Lane
                                           Cary, NC  27513
*Note RCS is not yet a registered 501c3 organizations.  Donations toward legal fees to do so are also being accepted. 
Thank you...Be blessed...