September 05, 2009

What Makes It Possible?

Acts 5:29-42

The apostles … [rejoiced] because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.
Acts 5:41


In his book Safely Home, Randy Alcorn tells the story of a persecuted Christian who loses everything because of his faith in the Lord Jesus. When he returns to his native country after receiving a Ph.D. from Harvard University he can only find a low-paying job because he is a Christian. Shortly before he dies as a result of terrible beatings, he tells a close friend that he feels unworthy to give his life for Christ.

What makes such humble obedience possible? How could the apostles rejoice after they had been beaten because they were followers of Jesus Christ? How could the apostle Paul, while chained to a prison guard, write, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4)? How could James write, “Consider it pure joy … whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2)? How can a man who has been on a sickbed for more than ten years say to me, “God is so good!”?

There’s only one answer: the grace of God! Without God’s grace no one could press on in the face of life’s trials. Because of God’s grace we can be sure that even in our darkest moments we will not give up because he holds on to us. As the Lord himself told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). As we grow to trust our Lord completely with our lives, we keep growing in the experience of his grace.

Father in heaven, we thank you for your amazing grace. You refuse to let go of us even when we are tempted to let go. Help us to keep trusting in you always. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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