Ted at Family Fellowship, talking about a particular denomination:
"They think if you're sinning at the moment you die, you go to hell; if you're doing good, you go to heaven."
John, the teacher: "What if you're in Tarahumaras?"
Man in the back, quietly: "You go to Mexico."
Talk about a heart cry. Imagine yourself pressed on all sides by people--and spiritual forces--who hate you to the core. You are falling into despair. You defy them time and time again, because you know they're doing wrong--the world is so far from what it should be! Yet the wicked powers, dead-set on destroying you, only seem to flourish more as time goes on.
Now, imagine you're more eloquent and old-timey-sounding than you actually are. You might pray something like this to the God of justice:
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us (Psalm 123:2).
How exactly does a servant look to the hand of his master? Well, he knows his master has power over him and his future, and that with a word, the master can change his circumstances from horrible to wonderful...or vice versa. He approaches the master both in trust and fear--trust, because he doesn't know whether things will turn out good or bad, and fear, because he recognizes his authority and position is absolutely nothing compared to the master's.
The Lord our God is our master. Oh, to look to him with trust and fear like the servants we, as Christ-followers, are! If there is hope for the servant in the story--that is, the possibility of redemption from his bad situation--how much more hope is there for the servants of God, who know that they can trust him and that he is good--slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness!
If you will humor me once again, imagine yourself at the end of a long, hard struggle. Your enemies have been vanquished, and you are standing on the battlefield, looking at what the fight has left behind. The war isn't over--you know. Still, the vision of victory, the approach of peace, reminds you that though the war rages on, your hope is secure. God has promised to win in the end, and he will indeed.
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us...Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth! We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 124:2-8).
P. S. Happy Independence Day.