Readings: Jeremiah 11:18-20; I Timothy 6:12-14; John 12:37-50
Ever been blindsided? Think of the poor kiddo in the ever-popular Christmas movie A Christmas Story. He receives gifts annually from a far-away aunt, and this year is no exception. Ralphie receives that wonderful big box in the mail addressed just to him, and he tears into it with great gusto knowing it will be something absolutely wonderful. And it would have been--if he were four. There, laying in the box, is a big, fluffy pink bunny suit. A bunny suit! Ralphie was blindsided. Really blindsided.
We've all been blindsided throughout our lives; maybe not with a bunny suit, but definitely blindsided. Sometimes we're greatly let down by a loved one, a friend, or a situation. We think things are going along fine and Wham!--blindsided. We are, at first, dazed and wondering just what in the world happened. Then, once we are over the initial shock, we start questioning and asking why it happened. This is when hurt and anger can consume us. In the book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah himself was blindsided--there was, in fact, a plot against his life. He said he felt as though he was "a gentle lamb led to slaughter" (v.19). How did he handle this horrible situation? He put it to God. "But, O Lord Almighty, you who judge righteously and test the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause" (v.20). Jeremiah didn't feel that he needed to be alone in this; he was not by himself. He was, unfortunately, blindsided for doing God's work. Yet knew that God was on his side. He trusted in God.
The book of I Timothy gives us good guidance on how to handle situations when we are blindsided throughout life. He tells us to "Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (v.12 & 14). We don't need to fold to those who blindside us, but we're not called to fight the fight of mere mortals with fists or ugly words, but through the fight of faith. Christ is with us, even when we feel the most dejected, the most deceived, the most humiliated by our earthly peers. But Christ never leaves our side. He's there; we just need to reach out and then we'll be well-prepared to "fight the good fight of faith".
In John 12:47 & 48, we hear Christ's words: "... For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me, and does not accept my words; that very word with which I spoke will condemn him at the last day." Christ's living forever in our hearts is not based on judgement; it is based on saving us and always being there for us upon our acceptance of him. We'll never be blindsided by Christ. What a wondrous message.
Peace be with you.