Great Faith AND Heartbreaking Torment

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

Under great pressure…
Not sure if I can endure this anymore…
Not even sure I want to live anymore…
I’m dying…

Ever been there?

If you’ve lived long enough, almost every single human being will be able to relate.

But what is surprising…No. Not just surprising, but shocking about these words are that they were penned by the Apostle Paul.

You know, the guy who wrote a third of the New Testament.

  • The guy who wrote the letter to the Philippians – the letter of Joy – while he was imprisoned!
  • This is the same guy who wrote in Romans, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18),
  • And “No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).

Then, what’s the deal? How can someone who writes about praising God in all circumstances write what he did in our verse of the day?

Perhaps, when we are dealing with the human being who wrote a third of the New Testament and not the idealized “Super, Duper, Apostle Paul,” we come to realize that Paul had issues just like you and me. And, not only did he have troubles like you and me, but he processed them in a way similar to us.

You see, it is quite possible to have a faith that praises God for all God’s promises, AND be tormented and broken by hardship, weariness, exhaustion, and suffering.

It is quite possible for you to be absolutely certain about God’s promises – that’s faith.


It is perfectly normal for human beings to go through moments of torment and doubt, and be shaken to the core – that’s what it means to be human.

And, the most beautiful thing, is that our doubts and uncertainties do not and cannot cancel out God’s amazing promises.

That’s good news! That’s gospel.

You Are Amazing!

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)

Philippians is one of my favorite books in the Bible. I have read it hundreds of times. But I never saw this before. That’s one of the most amazing things about the Bible: Every time I read it, there is more, every time, I learn.

Today, I would like for us to focus on the last clause: “for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

When Jesus died on the cross, he wasn’t thinking about ya’ll. He was thinking about YOU!!!

Christ died thinking about YOU!!! Christ Jesus took hold of you, and it was you that Jesus had in mind when he suffered the penalty of Calvary.

Jesus didn’t die for you just for any reason. He died for you for a very particular reason. God created you with your exact personality, your particular traits, your gifts and talents. Christ died for you and this gospel took hold of you through the Holy Spirit because God knew our world would need a church with someone just like you so that God can establish his Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

You are uniquely loved by God. God’s love for you is like no other.

Don’t you know? You are amazing! There is a service and a ministry you were not only born for, but saved for.

If you are already serving Christ in some capacity through his church, “Thank you! Thank you for doing what you were created and saved for.”

If you are not serving Christ in some capacity through his church, let’s talk. I would love to have a conversation with you about your gifts, talents, and passions to see how God can put you to good use for his Kingdom and glory. I mean it. Give me a call. Send me an email. In fact you can call or email Pastor Brad, Bill, or me. We would love to have this conversation with you.

You are amazing. You were who Jesus had in mind when he suffered on the cross. He took a hold of you and he will never let you go. You are never alone for Christ is with you.

Vindicate Me for I Have Led a Blameless Life…Really?

“Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered.” (Psalm 26:1).

Wow! Just, wow!

I am not sure how any human being could ever say such a thing. A blameless life?

The ascription for Psalm 26 says informs us that this is a Psalm of David. A Psalm of David.

Come on now! We all know about David’s story of how he seduced and raped Bathsheba, and then planned and carried out the murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah to cover up his adultery.

“I have led a blameless life…I have not faltered…vindicate me…”


How are we supposed to understand such passages? Could we utter such a statement ourselves? What is going on in passages like this?


Derek Thomas says, “That’s what justification means: I am as spotless in Christ as Christ himself is.”


Hebrews 5:8-9 tells us, “Son, though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

  • Through the obedience and the suffering of Jesus, he became the perfect sacrifice for the atonement and forgiveness of sins.
  • Jesus, on the cross, took on his body all of God’s wrath so that in Christ’s resurrection we might share in all of Christ’s righteousness.
  • Through the obedience and the suffering, Jesus became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

What the psalmist has in mind in Psalm 26 is the time of judgment. Those who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior will be able to stand in the judgment of God and be able to boldly declare, “Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered.”

We dare declare such an incredible statement because Christ has led a blameless life on our behalf, and Christ has never faltered once. That is our faith and trust. And because of Jesus, our status has forever changed from sinner to an heir of God’s kingdom.


Wow! Thank you God! Thank you Jesus! Thank you Holy Spirit!