Perhaps you heard a rumor that I'm fond of the book of Proverbs.
In that book we read:
Like cold water to a thirsty soul,There's an obvious sense to that proverb, with many resultant applications. I've long thought that the Gospel was the best news from the farthest country, though whether Solomon had that in mind is a knotty question. Regardless, it's the nature of Proverbs that legitimate application can be made to various situations, such as a word from a general to his king via runner (1 Samuel 18:25), a letter from loved ones to a soldier, God's message to a lost world of salvation in Christ, or God's assurance of eternal, covenanted love to His own chosen ones.
so is good news from a far country
I was thinking anew of what terrific news from a far country the Gospel is as I drove in to work Monday morning. Let me 'splain.
Friday morning I was in a terrible mood. Poor evening preceding, poor sleep, not a great start to the day, and over it all a simply sepulchrally hideous mood.
Started my workday in a foul mood, and within an hour, I learned of a brain-shreddingly, shinbone-whackingly stupid miscalculation I'd made, and... and, well, Dear Reader, we'll let the camera mercifully fade to black at this point.
Fast-forward to Monday morning. Even though things didn't start out that great, even though something over the weekend had nicked my heart pretty good, and even though I didn't have that great of a sleep again, I'm really in a pretty terrific mood. Even another stupid thing I did didn't dampen it. I'm pretty happy. My prayer is a bit prettier.
What's the point?
Well, what about my experience — indeed, experiences? Which was reality? Which should affect my doctrine, my view of the Christian life, my approach to Christianity? Upon which should I repose, rest my weight? The way I felt Friday, or the way I felt Monday? Which one was God talking to me?
The Biblical Christian's answer, of course, is: neither.
In fact, I'll go as far as to say, thank GOD, neither! (I mean to develop this further in another post, someday.)
Now, the greater point. Monday just had me praising and thanking God that my basis for having a hope in God, for believing I have a relationship with God, for trusting that I have a joyous and hopeful future with God, was exactly the same Friday in the midst of my Marianis Trench moments, and remained exactly the same Monday, when there's a bit more of a song in my heart.
What's the basis? Of course, it is Jesus Christ, and the wonder of His salvation. It is expressed in that hymn about which I have reservations, apart from this refrain:
It is enough that Jesus diedMy hope rests entirely, utterly, solely and completely on Jesus Christ. If He isn't a very good Savior then, friends and neighbors, your correspondent is doomed and damned, and utterly without hope. But praise God, He's called "Savior" (Titus 1:4) precisely because He's very good at saving. In fact, in our idiom we'd say that "Savior" is His middle name — except it's actually His only name (Matthew 1:21).
and that He died for me.
So Friday, when I was miserable and unhappy and angry and frustrated, God loved me for Christ's sake. He looked on Christ, and pardoned me.
And Monday, when I was happier and more grateful and more rejoicing... God loved me for Christ's sake. He looked on Christ, and pardoned me.
Now isn't that amazingly good news from a far country?
How sad that, if you read this and you haven't made peace with God on His terms, in Jesus Christ alone, you know nothing of that good news as a personal possession. Everything you think you have, everything that is making you happy today, is illusory and passing.
Ah, but if you have, if you've fled to the one refuge which is the Lord Jesus, then that good news from the Far Country is your good news. Regardless of your mood, regardless of your experience.
Grab a hold of it come what may, then, and don't ever let go.