Psalm 100:5 (New International Version)
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
The last few weeks have been so busy that I haven't have much time for reading. There is still a lot happening but I'm finding some precious time to get back to reading--a little at least!
Someone asked me recently if I ever read fiction. I grew up on the classics. I loved fiction--but although I consider it a weakness that I want to rectify, I rarely read fiction as an adult. I find myself drawn to books that challenge my thinking--that teach, or inspire me to grow.
I'm almost finished Alan Reynold's book, A Troubled Faith, published by Word Alive. I've enjoyed reading and thinking my way through it. Alan is a retired minister of the United Church, who lives in B.C.
In the chapter I'm reading, The Heart's True Home, Alan describes his journey to belief in Jesus's physical and spiritual resurrection. He had initially considered belief in the resurrection to be the result of mass hysteria, but as he studied the evidence, much like others such as Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ) and Josh McDowell (More than a Carpenter), the evidence for the resurrection convinced him.
One of the many factors that convinced him, was the change in the disciples, following a resurrection they were not expecting to happen. Their initial plan after Jesus's crucifixion, seems to have been to go back to their pre-Jesus lives, such as being fishermen. Something changed that--the resurrection of Jesus.
It certainly wasn't a life of ease and success that beckoned, but a life of persecution and hardship.
In Acts chapter 5, the teacher Gamaliel, at whose feet the apostle Paul had studied, said:
"Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."
Only a rock solid faith in the One who is Faithful and True took the ragamuffin band of disciples to the lives of heroic sacrifice they lived from that point on.
Because of Who he is.
1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 (New International Version)
3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. 4In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.