This blog is offered up today by Max Williams, youth minister at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Cypress, Texas.
What a crazy thing to be justified by.
To be strengthened by our unknowing and unsureness. To be built up by our tearing down. To be assured that we are worthy through the sacrifice of Christ.
Faith is the one thing that I find makes it impossible for some people to believe in anything having to do with God, much less believing in the Good News of Jesus Christ. The leap required is such that it takes an act much like the Jesus telling the woman at the well about her life to kickstart their hearts and minds to believe. The game changer is knowing the suffering you see and starting to journey past it. It is the journey between suffering and hope, with the steps of endurance and character in between.
I can remember being a scared teenager, not knowing what was happening in my life. I now realize I wasn’t alone, but, at the time, I felt so alone. I can remember the moment at which I felt the Love that Paul talks about in the letter to the Romans being poured into me through the Holy Spirit. I can remember having hope for the first time. That hope has certainly not disappointed. It has tried me, it has put me through the wringer, and it has broken me a few times. It has also sustained me, put me back together, and it has certainly justified me.
Justified not in the sense that I’m right where others are wrong, but justified in the sense that my faith pushes me to find ways to serve my God through Jesus Christ. Justified to find ways to have the endurance produce the character needed to have hope. Justified to know that Jesus is the Messiah and that the food and drink I get from my faith in Him is what I need to sustain me as I live and grow into the life of Hope and Love that I have gained through my Faith in Jesus.
It’s the hardest thing sometimes, even for someone who has lived most of their life now in the knowledge of the faith that I have. The struggle continues every day. Questions come up that can’t be answered. Jobs get lost. Partners fall out of love and move on. Wars start. Horrible things happen that I can’t begin to accept as being from the loving God that I have faith in. The world doesn’t make sense. It never has, and I’ll go out on a limb and say it never will.
The leap of faith we’re required to take to begin the journey from suffering to hope (just like the Samaritan woman) begins very simply sometimes and becomes an avalanche until you get to hope. Sometimes, you just have to strap in for the ride. Let God do God’s work. Keep your mind and your heart open to the love that’s there.
Let yourself be justified by faith through the love that God has for us through Jesus Christ.