"24 Hours: The Trials (Part 2)"

I love snow.  My family loves snow.  My dog loves snow (as those of you connected with me on Facebook have seen).  So this weekend has been a bizarre and wonderful hiccup of snow that we’ve been enjoying greatly.  For those of you who aren’t as happy about Saturday’s snowfall, then you can all look forward to the rain expected on Tuesday and the balmy weather expected on Wednesday to make it all go away.  Nothing good or bad in life lasts forever -- only God does -- so I kinda figure that it’s worth not getting lost in those exultations and frustrations as much as we usually do.

We even chatted about that a smidge in our Sunday School class this week, walking leisurely through Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi.  The apostle was writing to them from his imprisonment in Rome (after all of those thwarted career plans, the beatings, the shipwreck, the snakebite, etc., and paying for all of it out of his own pocket), but he kept using words like “joy” about his situation in life.  No, none of those circumstances would’ve necessarily been fun, but Paul recognized that who he was, why he was who he was, and what he’d been called to do by God were all pretty much non-situational and weren’t going to change, no matter what circumstances he found himself in on a given day.  With that in mind, Paul was unabashedly who he was, he praised God for sculpting his life that way, and he found joy in knowing that even his unpleasant circumstances were accomplishing exactly what he’d been called to do.  That’s pretty awesome, if you ask me.  How would your life or my life be changed if we would adopt that Christlike attitude on a more consistent basis?  Especially when facing trials on a given day...

On this Palm Sunday, we talked about the trials that Jesus took part in on that final Friday morning of His own life.  Five days earlier, all of Jerusalem was abuzz with excitement as He’d ridden into town, cheering Him as a great prophet of God.  By the time that the trials with Annas and Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod were over, that same city had turned out to angrily condemn Him and demand His crucifixion -- because Hell hath no fury like a people scorned (i.e.; we don’t hate anyone in life as much as we hate those whom we thought we’d loved... but who no longer seem to be the people we’d wanted them to be).

But I should back up.  When I say, “trials” here, I’m not talking about courtroom dramas, but rather those opportunities where people are given a choice between right and wrong, the chance to cull the good from the bad.  And I’m not even talking about Jesus facing those trials.  When you look at who really had the power and authority in those interactions, and when you think about the choices that Jesus had already made, then those interactions were far less about Jesus being tried by all of those guys, and far more about all of those guys being tried by their response to Jesus.  Pilate even gave the people of Jerusalem a clear choice between right and wrong (i.e.; a “trial”).

So how will you and I respond when faced with our own inevitable trials -- our own choices in life?  With our natural perspectives, gleaned by years of living in the wilds of this natural world?  Or by leaning on God’s perspectives and adopting a genuinely Christlike attitude toward the trials we face?

But remember, nothing good or bad in life lasts forever -- only God does -- so maybe use some basic logic there in figuring out which vantage point makes the most sense to launch your perspectives off from...