Jesus the Teacher: The Truth Heals
Pastor Jeff Bills opened his message by talking about myths we go through life believing: Eating vegetables will make you tall; the good guy always wins; life is fair. Then he threw in one that can trip up Christians: Faith in God and living a “good” life will protect us from all hardships and evil. This belief, Pastor Jeff, assured, is not only wrong, once hardships and heartache come, it can derail us from our connection to God.
Pastor Jeff looked at the opening part of what is known as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which you can read beginning in the 5th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Here, Jesus gives us the Beatitudes, which Pastor Jeff explained means “blessings.” But when people heard Jesus proclaim, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” or “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted,” many of them probably went, “Wait, what?” When we are going through hard times, we don’t want to just be consoled, we want to immediately be relieved of whatever is causing us pain and suffering. The fact that this is not what happens is almost as hard to bear as whatever it is we are experiencing.
What Jesus was really saying wasn’t that we should be going, “Oh yay! Send me lots and lots of troubles so I can be extra blessed!” Instead, He was trying to relay that no matter what we are going through, being connected to Him will enable us to experience joy and well-being in the midst of it all. This at first sounds like an oxymoron, yet as I look back at the times in my life I when was mourning and struggling to get through each day, I can see this has been when my faith has grown the most. These were the times when I could most feel God’s presence and see Him working in my life. And that is a blessing, although it may take us a while to recognize it.
- Lauree Padgett, Voorhees Campus