A Shanghaiist news agency reported the story of a young man who lost unconsciousness due to an artery blockage.
Condition of the Heart
EMT personnel rushed him to Zhongnan Hospital in China’s Hubei province. There an ER doctor and medical team resuscitated him back to life and stabilized his condition.
However, when his father visited him later in his hospital room, gratitude was the last thing in his heart. The young man’s father was irate at the condition of his son’s clothing. In the rush to save his life, emergency procedures dictate that any restrictive clothing be cut away. This is what happened to his son’s shirt and trousers.
As a result the father demanded that the doctor reimburse him for the equivalent of $226.50 (1500 Yuan). The doctor very graciously gave the angry father what money he had in his pockets. The money summed to about $151.00 (1000 Yuan) which the father whipped from his hand. There was no “thank you” for saving his son’s life – just a demand for money.
When the story went viral on social media there arose an outcry from thousands of readers against the ungrateful father. In their minds, he seemed to care more about his son’s clothing than his son’s life.
Outside the Comfort Zone
But it reminded me that, in God’s efforts to save our souls God has to sometimes allow some pain in our lives. Sometimes that pain may arise when God must frustrate our plans – plans that, if pursued, might expose us to temptation or even destroy our faith.
But are we grateful when God puts a halt to our self-destructive pursuits? More likely we fume and grumble against Him, forgetting that God’s “discipline” is only an expression of His love (Hebrews 12:5-6). God is merely doing what He must to secure our eternal well-being and to save us from eternal damnation.
Sometimes God’s soul-saving efforts may require that He take some radical measures to correct our behavior or addictions. Such measure might cause us a great deal of pain – perhaps even some damage to our possessions or career. But if the end result is our eternal salvation, should we be shaking our fist at God for the temporary pain or loss we suffer? Aren’t we just like the ungrateful father who overlooks the heroism that saved his son’s life and only grumbles about damage to his clothing?
A Liberating Sacrifice
Instead of obsessing over the pain God allows in our lives, let’s remember the pain our salvation cost the Son of God. As a propitiatory sacrifice – one which fully satisfies God’s holy justice (Romans 3:24-26; 1 John 2:2) – Jesus absorbed the unquenchable fire of God’s wrath against our sins. He endured humanity’s-worth of eternal fire for us. And only because of His Deity that coupled His humanity, was Jesus able to survive and quench it.
Therefore, all who embrace Him by faith have the assurance that their punishment for their sins is forever behind them, suffered on our behalf by Jesus Christ. This is why God’s word tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who endured the cross and disregarded its shame for the joy that was set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). Again we are commanded to “Consider Jesus, who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest we become weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3).
The next time God sees you in danger of doing something destructive to your faith and relationship to Him, which course of action do you hope He pursues? Giving us our momentary heart’s desire or doing what is necessary to preserve our soul and save us eternally?
Dear Father in heaven, please forgive my hardness of heart and rebellion. Please soften my heart and make me pliable in Your hands. Please open my eyes to see the eternal life and glory to be gained by allowing You to do Your work of redemption in my life. And when I suffer the loss of life’s temporary pleasures, remind me of Your Holy Son who endured the consuming fire of Your wrath for my sake. Amen.
If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.
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