Here we go again...Michael Ledbetter

Here we go Again...

Just when we thought things were headed in a positive direction, we find ourselves in another pandemic phase with new anxiety, which spurs the reoccurring political, social and personal debates that have made 2020 and 2021 extra stressful.  As I was thinking, “Here we go again,” I was curious what scripture I could lean on to find strength and encouragement.

Did God think, “Here we go again,” when He repeatedly saw the Israelites fall away?  In Exodus 32 when Aaron made the golden calf, God called the Israelites a stiff-necked people and is ready to just start over with Moses.  “And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”  God didn’t destroy them, and yet again and again we see the disappointment God has as the nation of Israel falls away.

We see Jesus have many encounters with the Jewish leaders. I know He had to think, “Here we go again.”  In Matthew 22, the Pharisees wanted to trap him into making false or damaging statements.  You get the image of a child trying to trick a wise teacher, but “Here we go again.” When they heard His answer, “They marveled, and they left Him and went away.”

In 2 Cor. 11 Paul recounts his hardships. The beatings and danger did not keep him away from his work. Instead, I believe you could hear him say, “Here we go again!”

God didn’t give up on the Israelites. He had a plan — a plan that led to a Savior and a perfect sacrifice. Jesus didn’t give up on His teaching.  He brought clarity with His Word, even when the crowd wanted something else. Paul knew his preaching would bring more hardships, but he continued his race pressing on toward the prize.

As we see more challenges ahead of us, are they comparable to all the things I mention above? No. But we can lean on the knowledge of a loving and patient Father, a wise and perfect Savior, and the assurance that as we continue in our daily walk, we race toward a heavenly prize.  Let’s join Paul and be prepared every day to say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day.” (2 Tim 4)

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