WHICH SIDE IS GOD ON?
by David Sisler
Born March 29, 1918, Pearl Bailey was the youngest child of Ella Mae and Joseph James Bailey. The author of six books, appointed "Ambassador of Love" by Richard Nixon and United States representative to the United Nations by Ronald Reagan and George Bush, the star of her own television show, not to mention "Porgy and Bess", "St. Louis Woman," and "Hello, Dolly!," Pearl described her life better than anyone else ever could:
"I've scrubbed floors and slept in Lincoln's bedroom at the White House.
"I've dined with kings and danced with presidents, and I've danced for diners in Pennsylvania taverns.
"I've reared kids and kidded with rear admirals.
"I've been baptized in the River Jordan after singing about it in church choirs all my life.
"I've looked into the opposing muzzles of Arab and Israeli guns and embraced patients in a leper colony – I'm cleaner for that.
"I've been afraid sometimes, but honey, my faith is stronger than my fears."
I think about a confidence that could declare such a faith, and I think about one of the greatest, but probably least understood passages in the Bible: "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?"
One of the things that is missing in our world today is a confidence like that expressed by Pearl Bailey: "I've been afraid sometimes, but honey, my faith is stronger than my fears." That has nothing to do with what is going on outside of your life. It has everything to do with what is going on inside of your life.
It is the confidence of a Christian that he cannot be defeated, that he is absolutely victorious. It is a confidence based not on our personal loyalty to God, but on God's personal loyalty to us.
If I think about my personal loyalty to God, I easily become discouraged, because I know my life has more valleys than peaks. But God declared, "If I am for you – and that comes before you can be for me – no one can be against you."
Then Paul said, "If God did not withhold His own Son, if He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – isn't it reasonable to expect that He will graciously give us all things? Everything we need to encourage us, to lift us from despair, to give us victory?"
Ara Parseghian was one of the greatest coaches to ever patrol the sidelines of the college gridiron. One memorable decision in his career was the final play of a game between his team, Notre Dame, and rival Michigan State. He had a chance to go for a victory, and risk losing 10-7. Or he could play it safe and assure Notre Dame would not be defeated. They played for the tie and the game ended 10-10.
He was severely criticized because of the lack of victory. The thinking was a loss would have been better than a tie. Since there are so very few things in life that give clear cut victories, we demand our teams go for the win. A tie is viewed as a loss.
Paul was talking about victory. Paul was telling us that if the Lord Himself is for us, no one has the strength to be against us, no one has the power to defeat us, no one has the weapons to discourage us, no one has the might to throw us into despair.
Do not miss the reverse of Paul's statement: "If God is against you, no one can effectively be for you." You may be the Chief Executive Officer of your company, you may have leverage that affects powerful decisions, you may be a victorious athlete, but if God is against you, who can be for you?
Now about your problem, your affliction, your obstacle – is God for you? If He is against you, you cannot win. If He is for you, you cannot lose. You do not have to settle for a tie. The good news is, only you can determine which side God is on.
Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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