Stay in Gods Word

Misao Okawa, the oldest living person turns 117 years old. How she, tragedy and the Bible relate…I read a story today about Misao Okawa in Japan who is the oldest living person in the world, just 117 years young today on March 5, 2015.  Naturally, she was asked about her secret to such a long life and her reply, interestingly enough, is that it has “seemed rather short.” She was born in 1898.  Her husband died in 1931, leaving her with 3 young children to raise!  The story didn’t go into much detail as it was only snippets out the actual AP story, but one can imagine the stories she must have and the history she’s witnessed.  She lived through WW II and Hiroshima, so she’s no doubt seen more tragedy and death than most others.

Each of us has dealt with unexpected disappointments to outright tragedies even in our very short lives, relatively speaking to Misao Okawa.  We know it is inevitable that just as joy will come, more trouble will come, including our own demise someday, hopefully far, far into the future after we are 117 years old!  There are times in which we go through the storms of life and pray like we’ve never prayed before but it just doesn’t seem to help.  There are times in which we witness tragedies around the world and wonder how God could allow such an event to happen.  How can God be this perfect loving God and allow these awful or evil things to happen?  This is when our faith can be shaken or ruined due to a lack of knowledge of God.  When people question God about evil in the world, they may wrongly conclude that the existence of evil means there is no God or an indifferent God (or certainly he’d do something about it) or they wrongly blame God for the evil instead of its true source, sin.  The consequences of sin in this world is evil in this world, and the devil is determined to use it to draw people away from God.

This is when our faith is tested to the limits, and we must rely on our knowledge of God’s Word, which is the basis for our faith.  Misunderstanding evil in this world, why it is here and misplacing blame for it and other types of trouble in this world comes from a lack of understanding God’s ways and his wisdom.  That lack of understanding is simply due to one’s lack of reading and studying the entire Bible, especially after having received salvation in Christ.  If you have been born again, don’t allow the demands on your time to be an excuse to not spend time in the Word of God.  He created time and he will bless you and make your time more productive than ever if you devote a small part of your day to him.

I would never discourage someone from reading the Bible because it is good for everyone, but it offers tons of hidden gems to the followers of Christ that read God’s Word.  For those not born again in Christ, taking that leap of faith is the first and most important step before you can begin to receive the wisdom of God that surpasses the understanding of man. That is when the Holy Spirit opens one’s eyes to reveal what God actually has to say to them in the Bible.  Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  Unbelievers live in darkness and don’t realize it until some circumstance, which can be any number of things including a tragedy, leads them to seek the light of truth and become born again in Christ.

This truth is best brought out in the song, Amazing Grace, in which the lyrics say, “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”  This is literally what happened to the Apostle Paul in which the Holy Spirit transformed him from a “religious zealot” and murderer of Christians to becoming one and the biggest proponents of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, great apostle to the Gentiles and the writer of most of the New Testament.  However, this transformative, blinded eyes opened, concept absolutely makes a non-believer’s head spin trying to grasp.  They always want proof that only the initial leap of faith will later provide.  That is how God works and it simply has to be experienced to understand this.  When that happens, one may have read some of the same Bible passages before and then read them again after being born again, and it is as if they are reading a whole new set of words that they have never read or heard before.  Knowing the Bible, as surely the devil does, is simply not the same or as valuable as receiving it as the holy Word of God.

Receiving and applying its knowledge and wisdom is of vital importance.  Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed due to a lack of knowledge [of God].”  If a tourists travels to a country known for its unsafe drinking water, and either ignores warnings or just never gets that message, it is no surprise if that person drinks the water and then gets sick.  Life is like that when we have faith and believe in Christ, yet get busy or whatever the excuse is, and ignore quality time reading and absorbing the Bible.  The smartest tip I’ve ever heard came from watching an old 80’s recording of Joel Osteen’s father, John Osteen, preaching at Lakewood Church.  He said, “You need to get the Bible in you when you don’t need it, so you have it there when you do need it.”

I’ve often marveled at how many people have faced great obstacles in their life and beaten the odds because of their faith and comfort in the story of David and Goliath.  Interestingly, David didn’t have the story of himself to build up his faith and trust in God.  Yet, we do. Lucky us!  We can know that when we are faithful and seek God’s will and seek his righteousness as David did, God will take what little we have and use it to beat the odds.  Now, that doesn’t guaranty a bed of roses in this life though.  Just read Hebrews 11 and all its 40 verses and you’ll get a crash course in what faith and trust in God is all about through the remembrance of a long list of great people in the Bible that exhibited such magnificent faith.  Then read their full stories and learn this truth: When God’s wisdom says one thing and the wisdom of the world says something different, go with God’s wisdom and you’ll have comfort in the storms of life and victory, not defeat.

Brian Rossi                           Return to the “Articles on Fire”