This Is Not Paradise

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for November 15, 2020; 24th Sunday after Pentecost

Zephaniah 1:7-16; Psalm 90:1-12:  1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25: 14-30

Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. [Lord,] teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:10,12,17

Stop and reflect for a moment: What have been the best days of your life?

Perhaps among the memories are a graduation, a promotion or obtaining a dream job, a wedding, a birth, a reunion or something even more wonderful. Such memories are blessings and put a smile on our faces and lighten our hearts. Personally, I am so thankful for such events in my life and the memories I have of those days.

However, such joyous events are not the norm of our every day lives. No our every day lives are filled with responsibilities and enduring such things as illness or chronic pain for ourselves or our loved ones.  We may be enduring unemployment or homelessness or loneliness or fears and anxieties. Or perhaps the honeymoon stage is over with a number of things. The reality is that these things are the things that fill our every day.

Yes, let’s face it; these things are the things that fill our every day: the mundane, the painful, the unpleasant, the inconveniencing. Just as the above passage states, most of our days “are but trouble and sorrow.” It is a fact. And it shouldn’t be a surprise.

As Christians, we know we live in a fallen world. This is not Paradise so why do we think it should be. There are people going hungry, because those of us with money and food, keep it to ourselves. God has provided enough resources to provide for every person, yet we blame him for not being caring enough. We abuse our bodies and then blame him for some of our illnesses. The world is in decay and brings illness and death, and we wonder why this is.

Let’s just stop! Let’s stop blaming him for the world that we, humankind, has brought into sin, decay and death. Let us bow before our God in repentance and ask his Holy Spirit to help us think properly of this world, and to be thankful for the blessings we do have here and now. Then, let us remember that there is an eternal Paradise and be joyous that he has paved the way for us to live there eternally one day. Let us think on and number our days properly, in light of what we do have and not of what we do not have.

Right now we may not have perfection, total peace, constant happiness, or total freedom from responsibilities, pain, or death. However, we have been blessed with the beauty of creation and loved ones. We do have the ability to show love, grace, mercy and forgiveness which he first has shown to us. We have hope in the midst of pain and suffering. And we have the ultimate freedom from the temptation of Satan, from sin, and from death, and no one can take that away. We can live each day with the constant assurance that no matter what happens- even death- that our Heavenly Father has taken care of our final outcome through the loving sacrifice of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, to one day enjoy Paradise with him forever. In Christ this fallen world is not our final destination.

In this light, we can awake each day in wisdom and truth of what this world has to offer. We walk into the day knowing that God will guide each of us to be his arms and voice to help make other people’s day better. We can see our God in truth, and live in anticipation of our home in Paradise that is awaiting each of us. We can enter our day not asking how can this world make our lives better, but rather, what can we do to make the lives of those in our own little worlds better.

Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive me for questioning you and your ways. Help me to see you in my day and to not be self-centred in thinking that this world is all about me and my happiness. Help me to number my days properly, that I may walk in your truth, and look forward to my home in Paradise. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

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