The Seduction of “Everything’s All Right”

“…And they all lived happily ever after.” We’ve all heard that line since we were knee-high to a duck. As we grow older, wiser and perhaps a bit more jaded we come to understand that life is seldom such a fairy tale existence. While some may take comfort in such a Pollyannaish approach to life the truth is that God chastised Jerusalem’s priests and prophets who persuaded the people, “everything’s all right”. Jeremiah prophesied, “For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 6:13-15). Instead of rooting out evil and requiring repentance they prescribed a placebo. The people had a compound fracture and the spiritual “doctors” as they were, put a bandage on the hurt, kissed it and “made it all better.” Superficial healing says everything’s all right when much is all wrong. Superficial healing says, “Go back to business as usual” when God or life or God through life have issued a wake-up call to repent from “business as usual”.
I won’t pretend for a moment to know what God is or is not doing in the affairs of men and women and nations and kingdoms. Such speculation is folly. But I do know that Scripture teaches the importance of learning eternal lessons from temporal tragedies, setbacks and sins be they isolated or nationwide. James writes, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:2-8). I do know that Scripture teaches that we are more receptive to wisdom in times of mourning than in times of giddiness. Solomon writes, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth” (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4).
Does God want us to enjoy life? I’m persuaded he does. The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul” (3 John 2). But he clearly wants us to see this life as a precursor and preparer to the next, not as a stand-alone free-for-all party where everyone does what is right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25; Hebrews 9:27). Only through Jesus Christ can we be fitted for eternity. But fitted or not that’s where we’re headed. And for those who don’t trust and obey him, it will be anything but “all right.”
Brad Fry

Published in: on May 30, 2012 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Many mothers have or will have three separate roles in their life as a mother: mother, mother-in-law and grandmother. How they fill these roles has a great deal to do with their happiness and the happiness of others. In this space let’s look at what the Bible says.

‘The mother’
While murderous moms make the news today and some folks make excuses for their evil, we should be reminded of the biblical role of the mother. A child’s mother is the initial and primary source of comfort. In Isaiah 66:13 God compares his care of his people to that of a mother to her children, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.” Then from before the time the child can remember, his or her mother is the teacher. Solomon writes, “Do not forsake the teaching of your mother.” (Proverbs 6:20). This, of course, assumes that the mother has taught that which is good and biblical. It is not an overstatement to say that mothers wield more influence by shaping the personality and character of the children, especially early on, than anyone in the world. Or at least that’s the way it should be.

‘The mother-in-law’
In the television program “Everybody Loves Raymond”, Marie Barone has to be everybody’s worst mother-in-law nightmare. She is critical, intrusive and acts as if her grown son is still ten years old. Apparently a far cry from the kind of mother-in-law Naomi was to Ruth. It may surprise some to know that the beautiful passage often cited at weddings, Ruth 1:16 was originally from a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law, “Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.”

‘The grandmother’
The word “grandmother” occurs only once in the Bible, 2 Timothy 1:5, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” Grandkids should be able to see and hear grandma’s faith. Her well-worn Bible and sweet disposition may touch many generations to follow.

May God bless mothers, mothers-in-law and grandmothers. And may God especially bless those godly women who lovingly live the life and fill the roles he has called them to.

Brad Fry

Published in: on May 13, 2012 at 6:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Adjusted Perspective

When you’re headed southwest on Hwy 377 in Tolar there’s a big oak tree that you can see on the horizon that looks as if it’s right in the middle of the road. As you get out of town and come to be where the tree is, you see that it’s to the left of the highway instead. That tree has long made me think about perspective and how things are not always as we see them to be.

At different points in our lives we may feel certain that a thing is so or not so or that it is this way or that. But as we get a little further down the road our perspective changes. The thing itself, such as the tree, may be unchanged and right where it always was. But as we travel on over the rising hills and winding roads and get closer to the thing that’s had our attention, we see it more clearly. If we are honest with ourselves we’ll adjust our belief in light of what we now see. It would be stubborn to insist that the tree is, where it obviously is not.

When we read the Bible, we may see some things that challenge what we’ve always believed. It’s not the book that has changed. It says today what it has said for centuries. Its message is eternal. Its truths are timeless. The psalmist says, “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.(Psalm 119:89). You don’t have to worry about it changing according to the fads and whims of men. You do, however need to constantly consult it to see if there are changes you need to make in your life. Then you can say to God, “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:24). That is the journey of life and the purpose of the Bible—to guide us along the way and to finally bring us home to God.

Brad Fry

Published in: on May 2, 2012 at 9:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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