Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
You can spot them nearly every time: a special group of people who always seem happy. They were deeply loved in babyhood by father or mother (or both!). It's fairly easy for them to say, "Yes, I believe God loves me!" They go through life having a continual picnic; they don't walk, they "dance" their way through life.
Solomon speaks of them in contrast with those not so endowed: "All the days of the afflicted are evil [wretched, New English Bible], but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast" (Prov. 15:15). The "afflicted" are those who lacked that warm, cuddly love in babyhood or childhood. They may have been orphans, or raised by an alcoholic or drug-addicted parent, or in a home poisoned by infidelity and divorce. It's not their fault that they are not richly endowed, but are "afflicted." Is it fair that the "ticket to heaven" seems to be a "faith" that comes naturally for lucky people? Or, forget heaven for a moment, do "all their days" here have to be "wretched"? Don't jump to a conclusion too soon.
Faith is not easier for some than for others because "God has dealt to each one [the] measure of faith" (Rom. 12:3). There is no such thing as "natural" faith. It must always be learned, received, imported, and exercised in fellowship with Christ.
Let us assume that Jesus' mother gave Him natural cuddly emotional warmth in His babyhood, still He was reared in an unbelieving family with all the liabilities anyone can have known in a hard childhood (compare Matt. 13:53-58; John 7:2-8; Psalm 69:7-11). He says He was "afflicted and ready to die from My youth up" (Psalm 88:15). All the "natural" emotional warmth He may have had from childhood vanished as He hung on the cross; there He had to live entirely by faith based strictly on God's word.
Your preparation to enjoy not only heaven but life here and now may possibly be easier than for those richly endowed emotionally since childhood. Faith is not emotion. True happiness comes only from fellowship with Christ; and where is He to be found? "Preaching Good News to the poor; healing the broken-hearted; proclaiming deliverance to the captives; recovering sight for the blind; setting at liberty those who are oppressed; proclaiming the justification-by-faith 'acceptance' of the Lord" (see Luke 4:18, 19). Join Him, and let Him make you happy.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 27, 1999.
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