My friend Lori Roeleveld wrote an excellent blog (http://networkedblogs.com/uyzew)
about how there are certain verses we, devout Christians, don't really believe. Or at least we don't live as if we believe them. And after all, the way we live reveals what we really believe. She concluded by asking, "What passage do you NOT believe?"
Since I've never been accused of being succinct, my response would clearly not fit within the parameters of a comment.
We'll start with the verse that I cling to, memorized long ago, and quote often if for no other reason than to remind myself that I SHOULD believe it.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28.
It gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling just saying it doesn't it? I mean, it's basically saying, "it's all good." What's hard to believe about that, right?
What about when it doesn't seem good? Is cancer good? Is the death of someone you love good? Is abuse good?
Of course not. None of these things are good and God's Word isn't calling them good. However, it is telling us that God can work through even these things, and worse, to bring about good. I've even seen Him do it.
So why is it that when someone treats me badly, falsely accuses me, or hurts someone I love, I have such a hard time? I'm not even talking about forgiving them - that is sometimes the easy part. I'm talking about seeing that hurt and recognizing God's hand in using it for my good. Doesn't Romans 8:28 promise that God is going to work that for my good? Of course He is! In that case, shouldn't I be giving thanks and praising Him for the situation and how, in His wisdom and power, He is going to turn something that seems so bad into something good?
That leads to the second passage I struggle with...1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
It doesn't say, "Rejoice when the sun shines, pray when you have a spare moment, and give thanks when you get that big promotion." THAT I could live with. THAT I could follow. But God wants us to see life from a different perspective - a heavenly and heaven-centered perspective. An eternal perspective. A view that says, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18
Keep in mind, Paul was speaking of torture, shipwreck, rejection from his own people, and being beaten almost to death...and finally, eventually killed for the sake of the gospel - those are the light and momentary troubles he referred to later in the letter to the Corinthians. (2 Cor. 4:17 "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.)
Lori, thanks so much for your challenge - you always inspire me to dig deeper and take a second look in the mirror of God's Word, to never be satisfied with what I see, but to strive always to draw nearer, live truer, and grow stronger by recognizing my weakness and the only source of my strength.