“My times are in your hands.” -Psalm 31: 15
As John Ortberg continues in Chapter 10 of Who is This Man?, he reiterates that for a long time suffering was the church’s biggest problem. By the end of the fourth century, however, Christianity was the law of the land in Rome. Christianity’s phenomenal growth ironically changed its character. Jaroslav Pelikan once noted in the Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture that it became “easier to be a nominal Christian than a nominal pagan.”
Yet suffering or adversity lays bare our need for reliance on Jesus’ strength and saving grace that the “good life” cannot possibly fulfill. Monastic communities flourished as people rejected a nominal Christianity, choosing instead to place their time, work, prayer, and possessions under the greater goal of unity with God. But monasticism had its own set of problems. As the author notes: “The desire to be a spiritual athlete is never far from self-righteousness.”
How, then, do we maintain that delicate balance? In his book The Everlasting Man, G. K. Chesterton hit on the solution: “The Church is justified, not because her children do not sin, but because they do.”
Today’s question: What blessings have you experienced following your ministry downsizing or vocation loss? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “An expression of ultimate hope”