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(Part 28)


January 13, 2010

A verse in the psalm reading for today says, “Many shall look on in awe and they shall trust in the Lord.” (Ps 40:4b). This signals the transition of our theme for last year 2009 to our theme this year 2010. From “Trust in Jesus” to “The Almighty! Just and Righteous is He.”

But first, let me say that our themes for the year point us to a particular emphasis or virtue that the Lord wants us to grow in for that year. After that year, the virtue should have become a part of us, and is to be lived out every year thereafter.

After the first 25 years and entering into the period of crisis where CFC-FFL would emerge, we have looked at various virtues -- hope for 2007, joy for 2008, and trust for 2009. These virtues were important not only to see us through the crisis but also to prepare us for the continuing transformation that God is accomplishing in our lives.

We needed hope because of the intense crisis and split that happened in 2007, where we experienced the lamentations of Israel, almost practically losing everything, but looked to hope in the God of our covenant. Indeed, with the split, the seeds of restoration were already planted. With the authentic CFC restored in the remnant that was CFC-FFL, our hearts were filled with joy in 2008. Or should I say, God rejoiced in us, since His people and His work would once again be in accordance with His eternal plan for CFC. Then, with continuing attacks against us and our work, God impressed upon us the importance of trust in Him, that He had a wonderful plan for us and would see His work to completion. We continued to look to the divine mercy of Jesus, for ourselves as well as for the whole world.

Now, in 2010, we look to the awesome majesty of God, and our proper posture of awe and humility. God will bring us deeper into a relationship with Him, and in this process we look to redemptive suffering. Job and Jesus show us the way. As God continues to purify us, oftentimes through affliction, we simply look to the reality that He is just and righteous. And of course, the hope, joy and trust that He has already implanted in our hearts would be crucial for us to endure and persevere.

We trust in Jesus as we are in awe of God. This addresses two opposing postures that Christians find themselves in at times.

On the one hand, the Creator-God is awesome and majestic and we are mere humans with our weak flesh. He is all powerful and apart from Him we are nothing. So we just look to God as someone to be feared, and our obedience becomes legalistic. On the other hand, we look to Jesus who became one like us (except in sin) and who accepts us as his friends. He is our brother who will do anything for us. We just need to ask the Father in his name and our prayer will be granted. And so we look to God as that nice loving person who always accepts us and who would never condemn anyone to eternal fire.

You can see that there is a lot of truth to both postures above, but each posture brings its own dangers. We can end up cringing in fear of this awesome God, or we can be so casual and familiar in our relationship with Him that we oftentimes will take Him for granted, to be called on only in times of trouble. On the one hand God is so far away and seemingly inaccessible, while on the other hand He is so near and so accessible that we are no longer in awe of Him.

Such is the mystery of God. So far[1] and yet so near. To be feared as an awesome God yet to be loved and drawn near to as a loving brother. To be obeyed but with a yoke that is easy and light. The One who is the eternal unseen but who was seen walking the earth among men.

Jesus himself is King and Lord of all, but came not to be served but to serve. He is Master but a suffering servant. We owe him our very lives, but it was he who offered his life for our sakes.

And so we trust in Jesus, even as we are in awe of the Almighty.

The story of Job presents us with many questions and challenges. Why is there suffering in the world if God is loving and in control? Why are the good afflicted while the bad thrive? How does the justice and righteousness of God align with the great injustice and unrighteousness in the world? Why does God allow Satan to afflict His faithful people?

Our theme for this year coming from the book of Job is very challenging but at the same time exciting. Our reflections should yield a greater understanding of the mystery that is God. Our relationship with God should deepen, where we, like Job, can really begin to “see” God.

The transformation of God’s remnant continues. God desires to bring us to greater holiness and greater work for His kingdom. In this, God challenges us to understand the purpose of affliction and suffering in the world. After all, this is the way of the cross and the only way of discipleship.

How awesome is God! How awesome is His great love for us! How awesome is the privilege He affords us in His work of salvation in the world.

We rejoice in hope, as we continue to fully trust in Him.

* * *

[1] See Isaiah 55:8-9.



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