THE FORMER THINGS
by David Sisler
If someone is convinced, absolutely convinced, he will stare at solid evidence to the contrary and stubbornly refuse to change his mind. Sometimes that is good. Sometimes that is bad.
When Robert Fulton gave the first public demonstration of his new steam-powered ship, one of those people with a made-up mind was standing on the shore. As he watched the preparations for launch, the man said, "He can't start her."
Steam pressure built up in the boilers and Robert Fulton engaged the gears to move the ship. Still the man said, "He can't start her." When the steamboat began to move under her own power, the man folded his arms and said, "He can't stop her."
The man had his ancestors in the crowds who listened to Jesus. In fact, they are still around today.
A crowd gathered to hear Jesus teach. "Don't be anxious about what you will eat," Jesus said, "or what you will drink, or what you will wear. The unbelievers are anxious about those things. Your Father knows you need them. Trust Him and do not be anxious."
Someone in the crowd probably folded his arms and said, "How do you expect us not to be anxious?"
Jesus said, "Give priority to the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things, the things you need, will be added to you. Don't be anxious about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. You have enough legitimate trouble today."
The skeptic says, "That is so easy to say. It is so hard to believe."
Jesus told John, "There is coming a day when every tear in every eye will be wiped away. Death will be totally eradicated. Sorrow will disappear. There will be no more crying. There will be no more pain."
Everything in my life and yours that makes us anxious, Jesus said, will be completely eliminated.
The skeptic asks, "How can I believe that the day will come when the Lord Himself will wipe every tear out of every eye of everyone who is sorrowful?"
There was a day when a mother was on her way to bury her only child. Jesus interrupted the funeral procession and restored her son to her, alive and well. All the tears were wiped from her eyes and the funeral became a party.
The skeptic asks, "How can I believe that death can be eliminated? I've never seen anyone get out of here alive."
There was a day when Jesus came to the grave of His friend, Lazarus. Lazarus had been dead four days, and from the testimony of his sisters, we know his body had started to stink and decay. But Jesus restored Lazarus to life. If Jesus could do that for one person, for a few years, can He not do it for anyone else and make the new life last for ever?
The skeptic asks, "How can I believe that Jesus can eliminate all sorrow and anguish?"
There was a day when Jesus met a woman who was drawing water from the town's well at high noon. She had married and divorced five men and then moved in with lover number six. She was an outcast among the women and ostracized by the men until after dark. But Jesus lifted her sorrow. With a confidence and a peace she had never known before she told the men of her town, "Come with me. I have found the Messiah!"
How can Jesus eliminate all crying? By eliminating every thing that makes us cry. If He makes the crooked straight, if He replaces injustice with justice, replaces guilt with forgiveness, and replaces death with life--what would you cry over?
How can Jesus eliminate all pain? The pain may be physical, which is bad. The pain may be mental, which is worse. Think of all the troubled bodies and all the troubled lives that Jesus made whole. He did it while He was physically here. He promises He can still do it for all who trust in Him. I can believe Him. Can you?
Published in the Augusta Chronicle 8/20/94
Copyright 1994 by David Sisler
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