I have never subscribed to the theory that the Christian life is free of pain and suffering.
But there are some who do.
Christian bookstores are filled with titles touting the path to joy and happiness, the way to wealth and material success.
And some of the claims of these authors and preachers rest on Jesus’ own words in the Sermon on the Mount:
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6:33 KJV
They interpret this verse to mean that if your heart is set on God and His Kingdom, then He will give you the things that will make you happy and healthy.
I would argue that they have it all wrong.
My own experience and that of many other faithful followers of Jesus makes plain that loving Christ does not protect you from the evil in this world. It doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get cancer, that you won’t lose your job, or that you won’t suffer persecution from the enemies of God.
And it doesn’t spare you from burying your child.
Just a few chapters later, Jesus instructs His disciples as they go out to minister and encourages them with these words:
” Are not two little sparrows sold for a [a]copper coin? And yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered [for the Father is sovereign and has complete knowledge]. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
Matthew 10:29-31 AMP
More than one song has been written to include the phrase, “His eye is on the sparrow”–meant to bring comfort in moments of fear.
And it is true. His eye IS on the sparrow.
But read the whole verse: “not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.”
God knows when a sparrow falls, but He doesn’t always stop it from happening.
‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’
Since Dominic died, I have found an unusual number of bird’s nests knocked down from trees by the wind.
Intact and beautiful, but empty.
I’ve wondered about whether God is trying to encourage me, or simply reinforce the truth that I now carry in my heart:
Even though He is watching, sparrows do fall.