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God's Good News For Today

Renewed in suffering

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A friend gave me a copy of an article written by David R. Schmitt that challenged him. I would like to share it with you. It is based on Romans 5:3, “Not only so, but we glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worth patience.”

At one point during the London Blitz, German fighters dropped almost 300 bombs per minute on the center of London. Such bombing destroyed more than the city’s buildings. It reshaped lives.

Underground railway stations became places for shelter rather than transportation. Above ground, life felt fragile as people walked to work through death, dust and debris. People learned to see life differently.

Consider a photo from February 1942. It reveals a simple garden. In the center are carefully constructed plots. As you move outward, you come across landscaped mounds of earth. They form a circle around the garden. From even father out, you see what this is. A victory garden planted in a bomb crater. From this scene of destruction comes fruits of renewal.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that renewal often comes in the midst of suffering. For this reason, Christians rejoice in their sufferings. We trust in God who brings strength out of suffering and renewal out of ruins.

When Christ died, he hung between two men whose lives were in ruins. We don’t know what brought these criminals to crucifixion. Regardless of what they had done, a few more hours and they would breath their last.

One criminal turned to Jesus. “Remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom,” he said. (Luke 23:42)

This dying man gave his ruined life to Jesus.

We don’t know what brought this criminal to the cross, but we do know what brought Jesus there. An eternity of love and one radical, divine decision: Jesus would bring renewal out of ruins. He would died under sin’s punishment to bring God’s grace to sinners. And so He said to this man, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Jesus brings life out of death for this man and for you. There is no place in your life too ruined for Him, no relationship so fractured, no memory so marred, no sin too great that Jesus can’t bring renewal out of ruins. Bring your ruins to Him today. Be renewed.

 

Dr. David Bouler of Global Faith Ministries, Chattanooga, Tennessee, contributed this column to the Journal Review. He can be reached by email at debouler@aol.com.

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