This morning’s devotional smacked me right between the eyes. When people have asked me what I want most, my answer has consistently been that, suffer or not, people would see Jesus in me. Max Lucado explains it so much better than I in this post.
“Surely This Was a Righteous Man.”
By Max Lucado
If it is true that a picture paints a thousand words, then there was a Roman centurion who got a dictionary full. All he did was see Jesus suffer. He never heard him preach or saw him heal or followed him through the crowds. He never witnessed him still the wind; he only witnessed the way he died. But that was all it took to cause this weather-worn soldier to take a giant step in faith. “Surely this was a righteous man.” (Luke 23:47)
That says a lot, doesn’t it? It says the rubber of faith meets the road of reality under hardship. It says the trueness of one’s belief is revealed in pain. Genuineness and character are unveiled in misfortune. Faith is at its best, not in three-piece suits on Sunday mornings or at V.B.S. on summer days, but at hospital bedsides, cancer wards, and cemeteries.
Maybe that’s what moved this old, crusty soldier. Serenity in suffering is a stirring testimony. Anybody can preach a sermon on a mount surrounded by daisies. But only one with a gut full of faith can live a sermon on a mountain of pain.
From “No Wonder They Call Him the Savior”
Wow. Yeah, I’m suffering. Yes, I want it to stop. Yes, I want to be restored. But more than anything I want to have a “gut full of faith” so that others can see that, live or die, my Jesus is everything to me.
Right now I have a big gut filled with ascites fluid. I’d rather it be swollen with unmistakable faith.
Jesus is not about religion, brick buildings, endless lectures and uncomfortable seats.
Jesus is about life-defining relationship that is real and vibrant. He is about new beginnings, hope and unconditional love.
Please don’t miss that. Email me if you want to know the Jesus I know but don’t know where to start. (No, I’m not going to tell you to go to church.)
(** Lucado’s writing has always inspired me. You can subscribe to His “Upwords” and get daily, defining emails at www.crosswalk.com )