Quick, what is black and white and read (ahem) all over?
I know, I know, it is a newspaper… but when I was young all I could hear was red, not read. So I never really got the joke until I was much older… too old… I am not going to tell you when the light bulb finally went off!
Ok, so maybe I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer, but as I read my devotions today, a thought dawned on me. When we pray “save us from the time of trial” might we not be asking not for total absence of trials, which made sense to me, but rather when we are enduring these trials that we would be saved?
Like I said, maybe everyone views it this way. But I guess it just really dawned on me today.
Yes I suppose it would be nice to be saved from having a trial in the first place… but trials do come don’t they? In our book of faith 40 day Lenten Journey devotions, the author talked about when the first disciples read this they were thinking apocalyptic (I spelled that right first time out! woot!) … end of the world kind of thoughts… they were pretty sure after Jesus rose from the dead, God was done and was soon to send in the mop up crew. These were the trials the first disciples wanted to be saved from, and who can blame them.
To this day we hear rumors of wars and experience earth quakes and other great signs and terrible portents and we get spooked! People have been going on about the end times since… well, since I think shortly after the beginning of time. Our current culture wants to be saved as well, how else can you explain the whole Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins publishing juggernaut?
Honestly I side with Martin Luther on this one (surprise!) who when asked what he would do if he knew that the world was going to end tomorrow. In response he said something like “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” In other words he would keep on living has he had been living. Such was his faith in the Lord who taught us to pray “save us from the time of trial.”
It has more or less been my understanding for some time. When I was a kid the threat of an atomic Holocaust was much discussed and fretted about. After a time, I came to the realization, that you can not live in fear. That when the Lord comes, we will be saved from that time of trial. Oh we my undergo trials, but we will not be found wanting. When we see the trials that the world is under we are called as the children of God to go out into those places and save those who are under trial. We do this because our salvation is sure in Christ, the one who has undergone all trials and has not be found wanting. In Jesus we have one who has been tested as we are and yet has not found the testing more that God’s love can handle.
We are tested there are no two ways about it but as I talked about at the start of this entry. We can pray in sure and certain confidence that we will be saved from the time of trial, in Christ. And when we understand that in faith we are saved from sin, death and the devil and living in Jesus’ love and forgiveness each day, we are enabled as the body of Christ to save others in their time of trial! Whoa!