by Patrick Lai
Easter is easily my favorite time of the year. I am sure this Easter will be meaningful too, but unlike all previous Easters – like many of you – I will be at home as our city is in lockdown. For the first time since Easter 1886 our church, which I dearly love, will be empty on Easter Sunday as we are all meeting online. These are difficult days, but nothing compared to what Jesus endured for us 2000 years ago. In Romans 8 verses 28 to 39 God speaks to us concerning such difficult times as these…
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all 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 powers, 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.
The phrase, all things, appears three times here. In each case it refers to the difficulties Paul is facing. Consider the difficulties he was facing: trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword, and even death.
In mentioning this phrase “all things” it speaks to what God will do IN and THROUGH us as we face difficulties.
Remember Easter, and in the midst of these difficulties remember that God, through Easter, promises us three things:
We know that in all things . . . God works (vs.28). Highlight these words, we know and God works. Jesus tells us that with God nothing is impossible. In in midst of our difficulties, cry out to Him, for it is impossible for Him to do nothing! We have His promise that He is working. Whether we see it or not , whether we feel it or not, we have His assurance: He is at work. And He is at work, in all things, not a few things, not some things, not many things, not most things but in all things. Have assurance, He will work.
God did not spare his own Son… will He not also… graciously give us all things? (vs.32) Jesus had difficult days. If God did not keep His Son from difficult days should we expect our lives to be kept from them? Yet God promises that in our difficulties He will graciously provide for our needs. Graciously? Often in our shallowness, we feel gracious should mean to prevent us from having any difficulties at all. But no, God graciously gives us difficult days. Both the prophets and the disciples encountered strenuous difficulties. This why He tells us, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 9:12). If not for difficulties, we’ll not achieve His perfection. If not for difficulties, we would not know His grace.
In all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (vs.37). In our difficulties we are more than conquerors. God destines us to be conquerors. Note however, that it is not we ourselves who conqueror. It is not our strength or will-power that will “get the win”. No, it is through Christ the one who loves us that we conquer. The Holy Spirit working through us brings the triumph. Philippians 4:13 agrees, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus, He is the Conqueror. He brings the triumph.
As we celebrate Easter in the midst of these difficult days, walk in His grace with assurance, that through you, Jesus will triumph.
Patrick Lai first and foremost describes himself as a slave of Jesus Christ. During his thirty-two years in Asia, the Lord enabled his team to gather four groups of Muslim believers and start several small businesses. He authored the books Tentmaking: The Life and Work of Business as Missions and Business for Transformation: Getting Started as well as numerous articles on BAM. He founded the OPEN Network and Nexus B4T, a network of over 700 B4Ters, BAMers, and tentmakers. Currently Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach B4T workers in unreached areas and teach extensively around the world on this new paradigm for doing mission in a changing world.