It’s been a busy season of life. The Lord has been gracious in providing some great opportunities in the last months, but I’ve been getting worn down. I have trouble saying no. I’m thankful for opportunities to teach and lead, so I’ve had to be very strategic with my time and energy.
One of the things that God has been doing in my heart through Christ’s promises is reminding me of all the ways God wants to bless us. Consider this promise, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-31). Or a few chapters later, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (16:24). Jesus told us to ask Him for things so that we would receive from Him and upon receiving, be filled with joy.
It really is staggering to think of all the implications of all that Christ promised His followers. I’ve been spending a lot of time meditating on this list. I’ve been asking God to increase my faith and asking for the strength to live up to these conditional promises. I want to receive children in Christ’s name, seek Christ, be pure in heart, pray in secret and hate my life in this world so that I might receive Christ, find Christ, see God, be rewarded by the Father and enjoy eternal life with Christ.
I believe we often reach for the wrong comforts when we go through challenging times. We’ll eat a good meal, watch a movie or take a nap. While all these things are great, I believe Jesus wants His people to come to Him for comfort in these times. We should know these promises so well that when hard times come we run to the Savior and let His precious promises wash over us.
As Samuel Rutherford put it,
“I wonder many times that ever a child of God should have a sad heart, considering what their Lord is preparing for them.”
Lest we think Rutherford had an easy life, he experienced great pain. A Scottish minister in the 17th century, his beloved wife died in his early 20s, he was once exiled from his church by the English Episcopacy, and he was even charged with treason by the English monarchy for his writings, but all that Christ promised was so real to him that it literally trumped this pain.
This same man who knew such great pain once wrote, “The sea-sick passenger shall come to land; Christ will be the first that will meet you on the shore.” We need to learn Christ’s precious promises and lean on them at all times. We should make them the substance of all our prayers and preach them to ourselves every day so that, if and when difficulties come, we can say with Rutherford, how could I ever be sad when I have such riches in Christ?