How Do You Respond?
For reading & meditation – Hebrews 12:4-15
“Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can … spring up in him a bitter spirit …” (v. 15, J. B. Phillips)
Today we must examine an issue that may be extremely challenging to us Christians, but we must face it nevertheless. Why is it that many non-Christians, though broken by life, succeed in becoming “strong at the broken places,” while many Christians go through similar experiences and come out crippled and bitter? A few years ago I watched a television program in the United States in which a famous Jew, Victor Frankl, talked about his experiences in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. When he was brought before the Gestapo, they stripped him naked and then, noticing that he was still wearing his gold wedding ring, one of the soldiers said, “Give it to me.” As he removed his ring, this thought went through his mind: “They can take my ring, but there is one thing nobody can take from me – my freedom to choose how I will respond to what happens to me.” On the strength of that, he not only survived the Holocaust, but also developed his whole psychiatric system called Logotherapy, which states that “when you find meaning in everything, then you can face anything.” Frankl, a non-Christian, survived the horrors of the Holocaust because he was sustained by an inner conviction that he would come through it, and be able to use the suffering to good effect. His system of Logotherapy is now being used to help thousands who have mental and emotional problems. If a non-Christian, bereft of redemptive grace, can respond to life in this way, then how much more those of us who claim to be His children?
Prayer: O Father, whenever You corner me like this, You know my tendency to wriggle and try to get off the hook. Help me to face this issue and take my medicine, however bitter it tastes. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
For Further Study
1. Why can we come boldly to God?
2. What was Paul’s inner attitude to his problem?