“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.” –T.S. Eliot
As the world spins ’round I see more and more in myself things that I dislike. Shamefully so, I am not stubborn enough to stand for what is right; sometimes all I stand for is what benefits me right here, right now. But God wants more than that from me, from all of us. He sees what we are capable of, not only all the good we can bring to the world, but the evil which we create within our hearts. Despite that fact, He still wants us and tries every day to encourage us to aspire to be the best person we can be. God, since the beginning of time, has been planning for this moment. He has seen, has known, every action, even every word, before you and I did them or have yet to do them. He could make us do whatever He wants, but instead He chose (there is that amazing five letter word) to give us free will, knowing full well that in doing so that free will would provide us with the choice to either follow Him or destroy what He had made perfect. Yet, in all this, God still loved us, His fallen and flawed creation, and provided a way back to the perfection we were created to be: the way is in Jesus. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was the life, and the life was the light of man. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it…””And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-5, 14) Sorry that was so long, but I wanted to make it clear that He had courage when He came to earth to die for us; He came so that creation could be healed, and that which had been broken should be mended through His sacrifice. Jesus, through the Blood, has broken all the barriers between us and God, and is now, even as we speak, interceding on our behalf. If that is not love, than I don’t know what is.
God gave us the freedom of choice, the free will to choose between fleeting pleasure or everlasting peace, life, and love, just like He gave Jesus the free will to come to earth to sacrifice Himself for all. Yes, we endure pain now, but so did Jesus, and He didn’t even do anything wrong. As the apostle Paul said in Romans, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed IN US”, (Romans 8:18), and also in Hebrews he says, “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy the was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”(Hebrews. 12:2) Christ had “victory” on His mind and courage in His heart while up on the cross (that doesn’t mean it was easy). All that we endure now for the truth will be nothing compared to that which will be revealed in us. That is crazy cool! As we live, but do not belong, in an age of wickedness and suffer because of it, we don’t need to fear because this life is fleeting, already passing from us. It is time we stored up for ourselves true and untarnishable treasures in heaven. Now, don’t get me wrong, you can’t earn salvation, it is given freely to anyone who accepts it with a sincere heart, but doing Gods will does come into play. We do things for God because we love Him, not because we have to earn our way into heaven. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not that of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
There are times, will be times, when God does ask us to act. This is the very reason I now write this post. There are seasons in each of our lives when we are asked to do something very difficult, and that mission will require courage, courage like Jesus had on the cross. As I have grown older I see why courage is so vital to a Christian’s, any person’s, life, and the reason for this is because every choice we make requires courage even if it only a drop of it. It takes courage to get up in the morning and live your life when things get hard. It takes courage to stick to what you believe. It takes courage to speak up in a crowded room so you can be heard over everyone (especially if you hate crowds). It takes courage to look the enemy in the eye and say “No more!” It takes, at least for me, courage to read the Bible and to face the fact that I have made another mistake. But God is sooo good. There is a Christian song by One Sonic Society called “Now and Forever.” The lyrics are beautiful (to me at least). One of the most beautiful parts is when the guy sings, “I stand in awe, I stand amazed at all You’ve done for me”, and another line he sings is, “Who can I compare to you my God, there is no other love like Your’s”, and “You love me as I am, Your forgiveness knows no end, my sin is gone…” Whenever we face a fear, God is near (hey, it rhymed!) to us. Once the situation is over with and we have tried our best, He is so proud! You once again defied the devil who was trying to keep you chained to fear. Sometimes being courageous is just standing for one minute longer than someone else. (George S. Patton) As you stand, you will get stronger and stronger until you no longer have to go down, instead you can carry others until they, too, learn how to stand against the devil. The only way evil (evil is the devil without the “d”) can win is when good people are too scared to speak up. As T.S. Eliot said, our world ends not with a bang but with a whimper. When good people do not arise, do not stand against what is wrong, that is when the world ends. There is a reason God did not make Jesus’ life, Paul’s life, John’s life, or Peter’s life easy. He raised up the weak men to become mighty (1 Corinthians 1:27) to encourage our hearts, and tells about their trials to bolster our faith.
We are not alone in our fears, our burdens, the devil just wants you to think that. You never have to be alone, it is a choice. Life is a choice, freedom is a choice, courage is a choice. What is your choice? How will your world end: with a bang or a whimper?