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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Be Of Good Cheer!

By R. W. McAlister
     When problems strike, how do we handle them? Everyone responds differently; some choose to overcome, and others choose to be overcome. I’ve encountered both types during my time in the ministry (indeed, during my lifetime) – those who allow adversity to make them become better, and those who allow it to make them become bitter. For those who have confidence in the Scriptures, Christ provides the answer for how we should deal with adversity. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation …” (John 16:33). Most of us look ahead for good things to come in our futures, but that’s not always the case. How do we deal with unexpected and depressing events?
     No man can know tomorrow, but it’s certain we’ll have unforeseen difficulties that take us by surprise – everyone does. On the surface, some appear to live a fairly problem-free life, but we can’t know what may be happening below the surface in the private parts of their lives. The story has been told of Ludwig Von Beethoven, one of history’s greatest composers, who was also nearing deafness at the age of 32. His condition was pressing upon him so heavily that he considered suicide.
     Thankfully, he didn’t yield to his despair. If he had, the world would have never experienced his impressive musical talent.
     What about the countless “ordinary” people who feel they have nothing of such great value to offer the world? Recall the parable of the talents in Matt. 25. Verse 15 says of the man traveling to a far country: “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability...” You’ll notice that there was no zero talent man! We may not have some unique genius to offer the world, but that doesn’t mean we have no value! When we face challenges, we may have no special passion from which to draw strength, as did Beethoven. How can we overcome despair?
     The answer is as simple as Jesus Christ. Christ came into the world to save sinners (Romans, 5:8; I Timothy 1:15). What Christians do have is the knowledge of the gospel (John 8:32). Therein lies the Christian’s gift to the world (Romans 1:16). This is his purpose and strength for living! He knows all about the cure for spiritual diseases, far greater than any cure for physical diseases and more important than all the medical knowledge the world over!
    We have a certain strength for living that outweighs any possible unforeseen challenges and discouragements: if we have obeyed the gospel and we are living with sincerity and diligence, with heaven as our primary objective.
     “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). Our time here is but a vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes away (James 4:14). We can have peace in Christ, and being “in Christ” puts on the winning side! So, be of good cheer!
  - R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/

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