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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
March 19, 2016

[NOTE: This message was originally published March 19, 2005.]
I followed orders,
     stood there and took it while they beat me,
     held steady while they pulled out my beard,
Didn't dodge their insults,
     faced them as they spit in my face.
And the Master, God, stays right there and helps me,
     so I'm not disgraced.
Therefore I set my face like flint,
     confident that I'll never regret this.

Isaiah 50:6-7 (Message*)

Sometimes we may be inclined to think that having God with us means we won't have to face troubles and difficulties, that life with be smooth and easy. This isn't the case at all. In fact, being faithful may even cause us to be subject to abuse and disgrace, as was Isaiah.

It also doesn't mean that we are to fight back when we are attacked, confident in the Lord's giving us the victory in this manner. Isaiah understood that he was to simply stand and take it while he was beaten, had his beard pulled out, was insulted, and was spat upon. This is the humility taught us by the prophets and our Lord.

Rather, God gives us the strength to bear up under abuse and whatever pain comes in life. Like Isaiah, we may be helped in our suffering not from it. Despite seemingly disgraceful circumstances, we are not disgraced because we are being obedient to the One who loves us without measure. When in the most difficult circumstances we don't take the world's way but are obedient to God, we will never regret it.

We need to prayerfully consider the strength of our faith as we consider this passage. Am I prepared to accept abuse and insults because of my faith? In my heart, do I fully understand and accept that true disgrace lies in disobedience to the faith I profess, not in what the world sees as disgraceful? Do I live in the confidence that God is right beside me when I am abused by others, and that I will never regret it if I live in that knowledge of God's presence and not in the ways of the world?

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2005, 2016 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 09-Apr-2016 21:00:53 EDT