I have always suffered from migraines and probably always will. I remember a few years ago when some friends and I made the four-hour trip from our home in Indiana to Milwaukee for a Brewers/Giants game. It was the year Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record. Just a few days before, he tied the record while playing in Chicago.
Anticipation was high as we knew we might very well witness history be made. Unfortunate for us, Bonds did not hit his record-breaking home run for another few weeks. Regardless, we were all excited to be there and we all enjoyed a good game of baseball.
I bet it was a good game. I wouldn’t know because I spent the better part of three hours lying in a nurse’s station along with a bunch of guys who had too much to drink. It was miserable. I went all that way to suffer from a migraine in a loud, uncomfortable room.
God gives us the perspective we need
The Bible is a book of comfort and encouragement. However, the truths contained in it were never meant to change our circumstances (i.e. get rid of a migraine). Yes, God is absolutely capable of taking away our pains, discomforts, and heartaches. But he never promised he would in all cases. To Paul he said, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, “No, Paul, I won’t remove the thorn in your side.”
God gives us the strength we need (Philippians 4:13). But God also gives us the perspective we need.
In my own study of the Bible, my attention is diverted to this subject time and time again. In the midst of Paul’s teaching on marriage, he wrote, “The time is short…the fashion of this world passeth away” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31). While he taught us to be honest and loving toward our neighbors, he wrote, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
We continually get this picture that our lives on this planet do matter and we are to walk worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1), yet, our lives are little more than a passing moment. I suppose the older we get, the easier it is to understand. Regardless of what our lives contain–rejoicing or weeping–it will not be long before it is over.
Jesus brought heaven to earth
Matthew 4:23-24 gives us a nice summary of the ministry of Jesus Christ while he was here…
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.”
The gospel accounts are more than mere biographies of a man named Jesus. They are accounts of his words and his works which together shows us his true identity as the Christ. Through his words, he taught us who he was and what he came to do. Through his works, he proved he was telling the truth (John 14:11). How else could he have done the things he did (John 10:19-21)?
Jesus not only taught in the synagogues, he also preached the gospel of the kingdom. (Yes, there is a difference between teaching and preaching. It’s not a difference in styles. It’s a difference in methods.) But what is the gospel of the kingdom?
The gospel is simply good news. In this case, it’s the good news of God’s kingdom. It’s the same kingdom that extends all the way through eternity and into heaven itself. It’s the same kingdom which has no tyranny, no ungodly rulers, no economic woes, no wars, and no possible collapse. It’s the same kingdom which the Spirit of God makes us to see (John 3:3) and Jesus Christ gave us access (Matthew 16:19). It’s the same kingdom which even hell cannot prevail against (Matthew 16:18).
When Jesus came to earth, he brought that same kingdom with him and proved it through his miracles (Matthew 12:28).
Jesus showed us a window into heaven
The miracles of Christ were not magic tricks. They were a display of his heavenly power. Furthermore, they gave us insight into the world to come (Hebrews 6:5). If you want to know more about heaven, look no further than the miracles of Jesus.
He healed those possessed with devils, those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy. First, Christ was able to fix the very root of our problems which is sin–the devil being the father of sin (John 8:44). Second, Christ was able to fix the problems which affect our minds. Third, Christ was able to fix the problems which affect our bodies.
We don’t read of him parting seas or sending plagues of locusts in the New Testament. Those particular works would not have accurately represented what it is he came to do. He came to save sinners (Matthew 1:21). He will return to carry us home (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Paul wrote, “Comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
We all have bad days. Sometimes we have unspeakably bad days. Sometimes those days extend into months or years. We pray and pray to no avail it seems. God doesn’t appear interested in taking away our burdens. Friends, look to the words and works of Jesus Christ. Meditate on them. Allow them to shape your perspective when God doesn’t change your circumstances.