We are very nearsighted people by nature. Especially when it comes to disappointments and difficulties we assume that no one has ever had it as bad as I do. We use it as an excuse for all kinds of things, such as giving in to temptation, despair, resentment, or anger toward others, sometimes even toward God. But then read 1 Cor. 10. The Apostle Paul reviews the history of Israel and notes two things: One is the faithfulness of the Lord in leading Israel through the wilderness, and the other is the sinful backsliding of the people. They had all kinds of nearsighted excuses. No one had ever had it as bad as they did. They longed for life back in Egypt.
With all that is going on in our lives and world today, we can easily decide too that no one has ever had it as bad as we do. After all, we live in a time of pandemic and political upheaval unlike anything we have ever experienced before. The stress has taken its toll on everyone in one way or another. Satan tempts us to use that as an excuse to lash out at those who disagree with our opinions, and to nurse grudges rather than freely forgive. It’s easy to put the blame for our dissatisfaction on everyone but us. Unconsciously perhaps, we become peeved with God for not making things better sooner.
Paul corrects our spiritual nearsightedness when he writes, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13). We don’t have it any worse than others. Like believers of all time, we daily do battle against the devil, the world, and our own sinful nature. Like Israel, we constantly fall into the sins of complaining and straying from the Lord’s path. But as He was toward His Old Testament people, the Lord is faithful in calling us back to Him through repentance and in forgiving us for the sake of Jesus’ all-sufficient sacrifice on the cross.
Today then with the eyes of faith, let’s look beyond ourselves and not use our problems and trials as excuses. May we look to Jesus as the One who bore all our burdens and guilt that we might be clothed with His righteousness and be justified before God. “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Ps. 119:18).
In Jesus’ service,
Tomorrow we will be celebrating the blessings of the Reformation. Services are at 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. The intergenerational Sunday school class begins at 9:30 a.m. Two of our upper grade students will present a brief drama based on Luther’s life. Everyone is welcome!
Here is the link for service signup: