The sustaining of life is no great mystery. If a body has air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat, life will continue. This explanation of life is observable in the animal world. Animals engage in those behaviors that will ensure their continued survival. There are no restraints of conscience to limit their behavior. Should you doubt this observation, try throwing a chunk of meat into a pack of hungry dogs. There will be no consideration given to the weaker, there will be no emotional ties between mates, parents will not protect children or children parents. It will be the strongest and fiercest who rules the day. This is where our expression, 'its a dog eat dog world', originates.Sustaining life is one thing but living life is something altogether different. By creating us in His image (Genesis 1:26-27), God has placed upon us an awesome responsibility. Man is to rise above animal instinct and live a life that is more than mere survival. Living life can only be accomplished when we unselfishly undertake to live life with high moral values. It is when we seek to attain these high standards that living life becomes difficult.
Jesus was not crucified because He was a criminal, or insurrectionist (Luke 23:4, 14-15). He was crucified because His life was lived with moral excellence and purpose. Paul dedicated the living of his life to accomplishing the Lord's work. The result of this decision was great difficulty and privation (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Though the list of difficulties is long, Paul endured. How could he achieve that kind of success?
The Christian's efforts to live a fruitful life bring to mind the plot of a current movie. The movie is titled, Lemony Snicket's, A Series of Unfortunate Events. It centers on the three Baudelaire children who become orphaned when their parents are killed in a strange and violent fire. In the process of finding them a guardian, they come in contact with Count Olaf. The Count's motive for keeping the children is purely monetary. They will inherit great wealth. The rest of the movie deals with the Count's efforts to kill the children by creating some unfortunate event. The prelude to the movie unashamedly announces that this is not a happy movie. The unfortunate events suffered by the children certainly live up to the claim.
As the Baudelaire children sought for a home and safety, so the Christian seeks for the eternal home (Hebrews 11:8-10). As Count Olaf sought to take away the children's inheritance, so it is that Satan seeks to destroy the Christian's inheritance (1 Peter 5:8). This explains why at times the life of a Christian can be described as a series of unfortunate events.
I like the idea that the fiery darts of Satan (Ephesians 6:16) are mere unfortunate events. We allow Satan to get the advantage when we look upon his efforts to destroy us as being more than we can bear. It does not matter how dark the night, or how hopeless we feel, or how overwhelming we think the problem, victory belongs to those who have faith (1 John 5:4).
Satan works the hardest against those who belong to the Lord. He knows that the inheritance awaiting those who are called by His name is precious beyond comprehension. Therefore, he tries all the dirty tricks he knows to cause Christians pain and misery.
Christians know that all Satan can do is create a series of unfortunate events in their lives. It is because we know this that we can laugh at Satan and mock his feeble efforts. We are not discouraged because we have considered the life lived by Jesus (Hebrews 12:3).
By Glen Young
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