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November 15, 2006

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

My computer remains narcoleptic. The Apple Genius diagnosis and repair and the two more 52-mile round trips to the dreadful mall have failed to resolve the problem.When the thing shuts itself off when I’m writing something terribly deep and important, I feel rejected and outraged. This would imply that I attribute human traits to the object, and that I allow it to wear me down as though I were in a pathological relationship with it. I hope it doesn’t come through in dreams.Nowhere in the Bible does it instruct us in how to repair or live with a computer. But we are given help for living with frustration. Right now, I’d like to curse this computer and see it wither, but somehow I don’t think that’s the correct answer.

All of us will be overcome by frustration from time to time. Where do we turn? To the Word of God. To the life of Jesus Christ. My computer does frustrating things. My computer is part of the world system: it certainly isn’t one of the things above. Therefore, I can expect frustration from it and deal with it the way Christ tells us to deal with the world.

Providentially, I was listening yesterday to a sermon by Ruben Zartman, formerly with the Free Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, and now serving the gospel with his wife, Heidi, in Mexico. Ruben and Heidi have become very dear friends to my husband and me, and we have met them only through the Roman road of our computers.

The sermon is titled “The Christian’s Peace in the World,” and is at Ruben preached this sermon when he was 21 years old, and I will say that he is coming up in the tradition of Charles H. Spurgeon and Tom Lyon.

Ruben was preaching from John 16:33, expositing on the teaching that the Christian holds dual citizenship in the world and in the heavenly kingdom. We are, in essence, bilocal: we are compelled to exist in two very disparate spheres. We exist spiritually in Christ, while existing physically in the world. This is, intrinsically, a very frustrating situation. The ways of the world are not the ways of God–by very definition, they oppose Christ–and yet we must abide in the midst of them.

The peace we have in Christ is not a matter of temperament, says Ruben; it is spiritual peace, a grace of the Holy Spirit. Ruben refers to this peace as peace of conscience, and peace of heart. Christ made this peace possible by providing for our atonement with his blood. And Christ gives us his peace when we approach him for it. How? These things I have spoken unto you… He gives us peace in his word.

Christ’s promises and revelation of himself in his word are the sources from which we may attain peace. The “small still voice” that revived Elijah was God revealing himself. (1 Kings 19:12) Christ’s character throughout the Scriptures reveals he is true and faithful to his word, and that he will come through with his promised peace.

For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. (Psalm 149:4)

God’s word contains assurance that he does care for us depraved, distractible sinners. We are to keep our eye on the things above. When the things below distract us to the point of spiritual alienation, we have refreshment always at hand. The peace is in place; we have only to take hold once again.Ruben tells us the Word brings us peace because faith feeds upon knowledge. The Word allays the doubts and fears that arise in tribulation. And we will have tribulation. We grow in grace as we combine revelation with faith:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

And faith must be combined with obedience for peace:

O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea…Isaiah 48.18

The wonderfully good news is that Christ has overcome the world; it is not even a faithful promise of a future event: He has done it. We will suffer tribulation–in my case, a low frustration threshold–but we aren’t stuck in this forever. And for the time that we are, we have Christ as a peacegiver, a refuge, and an advocate.No goosey computer can upend that.


imagmom said…
I have four Apples that are all peaches but one recently has given me some frustration and I too have a “low frustration threshold.” Our common disease makes us weak in the flesh, but our common faith is what makes us strong enough to live in this world.”Combine revelation with faith: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3 And faith must be combined with obedience for peace.”True words well spoken, my friend. The exercise of faith is productive.

12:32 PM  
Mrs. B said…
No credit deserved here, dear. The words around the Scripture were framed by Ruben.But yes, may our exercise bear fruit. Peaches sound good.Do you think I should print this post and send it with my computer to Tennessee in the nice postpaid box that came today? I think Mr. Bravo is picking up a back-up model tomorrow evening. The objective is for it to be up and running before packing off Crabby Appleton to camp.

12:45 PM  
Victorbravo said…
I think you should send the post along with the computer. Those techies get frustrated too and probably need illumination as well.
1:07 PM  

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