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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Tuesday-Not an Option

 

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

 

Philippians 1:29,30

 

In the movie, Apollo 13, there are two memorable lines that are burned into our memory. The first is, “Houston we have a problem.[1]” This came right after a switch was thrown, causing a spark that lit up the liquid oxygen tanks that generated electricity for the crew to live.

 

The second line is “Failure is not an option.[2]” When we hear Ed Harris say this to his support team, the lives of all the three astronauts isn’t looking good. They were 200,000 miles from earth, traveling at a little more than one-and-a-half miles per second. They were running out of power and oxygen. The main engine was damaged in the explosion so they couldn’t just turn around.

 

When we hear these immortal words, “Failure is not an option,” we get chills up and down our spine. We get goose-pimples on our skin. We want to stand up and cheer. We get so excited about their determination to save the astronauts. And when we see the three giant parachutes open[3], slowing the space capsule for a safe splashdown, our hearts swell with pride. We stand and cheer. Some cry. And well we should. They faced the single most serious threat in American space history and walked away alive.

 

But deep in our hearts we know just how close they came to disaster. They were running out of oxygen. They had too much carbon-dioxide that was slowly poisoning them. They were running out of oxygen. They didn’t know if the heat shield had been damaged. And to top things off, they turned off the heaters to save electricity, letting it drop to about 50-degrees for their return to earth.

 

The crew of Apollo 13 knew that there were risks involved in space travel. But I wonder how many Christians know of the very real risks involved with following Jesus. Paul talks about two very different and very real risks that are guaranteed in this life.

 

  • Suffering. Yes, as a Christ-follower we’re going to suffer. Suffering are the words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes that are thrown against us by someone else. When we put our trust in Jesus, we’re asking for God’s grace to save us. But we’re also signing up to be presently and actively suffering for him[4]. Just as people went up against Jesus, so they will come up against us. We’re guaranteed to join with Jesus in the fellowship of his suffering[5]. Suffering with and for Jesus wasn’t seen as something to be avoided. Instead, it was to be expected. If God’s son went through suffering, doesn’t it make sense that his followers would also have suffering in this life? Any expectation that this life will be filled with nothing but God’s blessings doesn’t line up with who Jesus is and his “promise” of suffering in this life[6].

  • Struggling. This is more like an athletic contest that we sign up for. It’s not something that comes from out of nowhere. No one unexpectedly finds themselves in a sporting event. No, we volunteer to play. We sign up to compete. And in this same way, we step up to the plate to struggle. We are God’s athletes, ready and willing to show what we’re made of. Like a tea bag, it’s only in hot water that you really find out what it’s made of. Paul understood and experienced this through his struggles for his fellow Christians and for God[7]. And we only truly show our devotion and maturity to Christ when we’re competing, struggling for his kingdom. For his glory.

 

Suffering and struggling aren’t very popular words within the Christian community these days. I don’t know if they ever were. Today we hear much more about God’s love. God’s blessing. How the death of Jesus guarantees us a life full of peace. Money. Success. After all, if Jesus made us one of his children, don’t we deserve to receive all the blessings as a child of the king? There is not a single word from the mouth of Jesus, or the pen from any bible writer, that there is a guarantee of nothing but happiness in this world. With respect, anyone who says anything else wants to sell you something.

 

But there’s an absolute guarantee of peace, happiness, and contentment from Jesus. It’s all locked up. His promise however isn’t for this life, but for the life to come. It’s where he’s preparing a place for us[8]. And we don’t have to work our way there, he’ll come and take us there.

 

God is in the business of not only redeeming us, but also remaking the world. He’s going to restore and recreate the world. There’ll be a new heaven and a new earth[9]. And that’s great all on it’s own. But he’s going to get very personal too. He’s going to wipe away every tear[10]. There’s no option about God accomplishing this. We can put our complete trust in him to do it and take us with him.

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • Why do we think that suffering and pain is an option in this life?

  • How have we denied that this is a broken world, filled with broken people?

  • Where can God best redeem and remake us?


[4] Philippians 1:29

[5] Philippians 3:10

[6] John 16:33 CEV

[7] Colossians 2:1

[8] John 14:3

[9] Revelation 21:1

[10] Revelation 21:4

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