SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
“And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days” Luke 5:34-35.
Memory Verse Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV).
“THERE IS A TIME FOR EVERYTHING, AND A SEASON FOR EVERY ACTIVITY UNDER THE HEAVENS.”
In a previous edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today we taught about the wonder of grace which allows us to grow gradually in the Spirit. This was based on Jesus’ answer to the religious leaders who wanted Jesus’ disciples to fast and pray as often as the disciples of John and the Pharisees did. We made the point that Jesus allowed the disciples time to grow spiritually until such a time that they would be prepared enough to face the challenges ahead. This grace should also be extended to new believers who join the family of God. In this edition we want to focus on the particular time Jesus was talking about and how we can relate to it.
In his response to the questions he was asked, Jesus did not say there was no need for fasting and prayers. Instead he told them a time will come when they will need to do it. He compared the time he was with them to the wedding scene where the bridegroom and his family and friends may be having fun, eating and drinking. And as we are aware, that is definitely not the time to fast. Jesus’ analogy means that his presence with his disciples was a preparatory period for them against the foreseeable future events. Jesus said that because his presence with the disciples served as a kind of security for them. They were able to sail through stormy and scary seas with Jesus on their side. They were given gifts of cash and kind by those who were touched by Jesus’ ministry. His popularity and power made it difficult for them to be attacked by those who were not happy with his ministry. In fact with Jesus, they did not need to struggle to pay their taxes. But that was not always going to be the case. Jesus knew that after his death, things were going to be hard for his disciples, and when the time comes no one will ask them to fast and pray.
What Jesus said reminds of the fact that Christianity is not about eating and drinking at all times but that there are times to fast and pray. This leads us to the understanding that every Christian may have to undergo happy and less stressful times and also go through difficult and very stressful times. It is not a one sided coin faith where followers expect to live a stress free life at all times or a stressful one at all times. Sometimes Christians will have to face hardships and when we get to that point, our faith in God and the teaching we have received from him should enable us to stand firm. Unfortunately many are unable to stand the hardship because they forget that sometimes the bridegroom may be ‘taken away from us’ and but we shall be expected to stand firm unto the end. Jesus warned believers of the challenges ahead of us as follows:
“SIN WILL BE RAMPANT EVERYWHERE, AND THE LOVE OF MANY WILL GROW COLD. BUT THE ONE WHO ENDURES TO THE END WILL BE SAVED” Matthew 24:12-13, NLT.
Jesus forewarned us; this means we should be forearmed to face the challenges ahead of us as believers. Those of us already facing challenges must be encouraged to stand firm in Christ and not give up at any time. It is my prayer that the Lord will grant all those whose difficult times have come the ability to endure to the end. If yours is about your health, finances, education, childbearing or rearing, marriage etc. I pray that the Lord will grant you the grace to endure to the end. Do not ask God why he allowed those difficulties to come upon you; just ask him to grant you the grace to stand. God is still standing at the same location he was when his son was being crucified for your sake. He allowed Jesus to go through it but raised him up at the end. He will do the same thing for you. He will grant you the grace to go through and afterwards glorify you for all to see. So do not give up praying and fasting when going through difficulties.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind those who are still with their bridegroom and are merrymaking that it may not continue to be like that forever. The tables may change. The bridegroom may soon be taken away from you and your merrymaking will come to an abrupt end. Take advantage of the grace period you have to prepare yourself for the difficult times ahead. Do not perceive your fellow believers going through hardships as sinners or cursed, for you do not know the dimension yours will take. Ask God to prepare you ahead of time and pray for grace for those going through sufferings now. Do not wait for the bride to be taken away from you before you prepare. Do not forget that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens! May the Lord help us to understand our times!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.