Because You're a Soldier

Sometimes when the long grind of affliction sets in, the faithful Christian will start to hear some discouraging words; the same words that Job heard during his long ordeal: "You probably have some secret sin," someone might suggest. "There's something wrong with your faith." "Your prayers are too weak." "You need to claim your deliverance more forcefully, and then it will happen." 

Tough stuff, isn't it? But just as popular today as it was in the days of Job! 

Often invoked is that passage in Scripture when "Jesus healed every person": "When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on every one, He healed them."  Lk 4: 40

Isn't it beautiful? Does it not inspire us with hope for deliverance ourselves? But...does it really mean that we're all supposed to be healed? Does it really imply that "Jesus never allows affliction or suffering disease"? 

No dear family. It cannot mean that. Don't invent doctrine from solitary verses and don't build your theology on isolated incidents. 

Consider for a moment that passage in Luke 4. As wonderful as those healings were, they were not the point of our Savior's coming. They were given as a "sign" to unbelievers that the Son of God had come. 

Not only that, but Jesus finally stopped healing everyone who came. At daybreak the next morning we read that "He went away to a solitary place. The people were looking for Him and when they found Him they tried to keep Him from leaving."  Oh yes, they did; there were many more who needed His wonderful healing touch. But Jesus didn't stay: "'I must go preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God to other towns, because that is why I was sent'. And so He set off to preach." Lk 4: 42-24 

Ultimately Jesus came to save, not to heal. 

Notice this: none of the people who were healed by Jesus that day were His followers. That's because there is something different going on in the lives of His followers. Christ's followers must share His afflictions. Oh, many times He heals them as well, but when He doesn't, here is the reason: it's because they are soldiers! Christ wants his soldiers to be toughened by life's adversities, touched with compassion for the afflictions of others. "In the world you shall have tribulation," he assured us once, remember? 

You are "soldiers" dear ones! So: "endure hardship like a good soldier of Jesus Christ."  2 Tim 2: 3

We believe in the mighty healing power of Christ in this church. Bring all your hurts and afflictions and all your struggling friends. We will cry out with you to our only Physician! And we'll see it happen! We have beyond number! But if it does not, dear faithful one, just remember the reason: it's because you're a soldier! And if it does not happen, remember this too: oh what great glory is waiting for you! How great your reward when you finally come home! 

I love the story of Rick Hansen. He spent two incredible years circling the globe...are you ready for this? wheelchair of all things! His purpose was to raise the world's awareness of the need for spinal chord research. 

It was a grueling trip. There are photos of him in every country, at every season, in all kinds of weather: blazing heat, slashing rain, swirling blizzards, howling winds. There are pictures of him on highways in the desert, through shadowy forests, over miles of flat farmland and jagged mountain peaks: his neck muscles straining; his arms flexed with the ache of abuse; his jaw set in fierce determination. Rick Hansen just kept pressing forward. Most of the time, nobody even knew what he was doing. Mile after tiresome mile; he never quit. 

And then one day, on May 23, 1987, Rick Hansen came home. He had pulled it off and now he was heading back to his little home neighborhood called B.C. Place. 

Rick was a little surprised to find that, even before he got to Vancouver, people were lining the streets! They had come from thousands of miles to welcome him after the long years of his ordeal. Television crews were panning the scene. Political leaders and movie stars were waving as he passed by. Police cars and motorcycle officers were holding back the crowds as Rick Hansen wheeled his way into town!  Entire platoons of other "chairwheelers" were lining the sidewalks to cheer on their hero. 

Someone told him to head to the stadium and so he did. But as he climbed over the Cambie Street Bridge, Rick began to hear "thunder" from off in the distance. The closer he got, the louder it rumbled until he arrived at the stadium parking lot and, by then, it had become a distinct "roar". 

The stadium was streaming his approach!

When finally he swooped past the dugouts and out onto the field, the place was going absolutely wild! One reporter called it "a deafening roar that could raise the dead". And every time it seemed about to taper off, a fresh wind seemed to catch it and start it off again! 

Wow! And there had been times, during the long ordeal, when he had wondered if anyone cared. That's what it's like when a "soldier" comes home!  

"Therefore, seeing that we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run, with perseverance, the race set before us."      Heb 12:2


Sunday! See you there!                        RAS


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