A Tale of Two Cities

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” so goes the opening to Charles Dickens’ classic novel “A Tale of Two Cities.” You may not like to read the classics, but we all seem to do a great job reading into the current condition of our lives, our relationships, our financial situations, our jobs, our future prospects and the world around us in general.

How I read these things then determines the times.

Marriage going well then it certainly is the best of times. Marriage not going so well then it certainly is the worst of times. A lot of stress at work then it is the worst of times. Opportunity to go the Patriots game then it certainly is the best of times. It is amazing how one aspect of life can suddenly become so exalted that it instantly can dominate my entire mood, attitude, emotions and thus have a vice grip on my heart. It is normally in those moments that I hear myself begging Jesus to come back today, the sooner the better.

What a wretch I am. I’m begging Jesus to come back not because I want to be forever with Him, but I want to be forever removed from the difficulties, namely THE difficulty that is currently dominating my life. Another reminder that I have not put Jesus above all things in my life. Another reminder that I declare other things more beautiful then Him. Another reminder that I love other things more than Him. Another reminder that I’m not seeking God, His Kingdom and His righteousness first. I am an expert at exalting things and I’ve yet to figure out that there is only One who is to be exalted. Please forgive me Lord.

God said to Abram in Genesis 15:1: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

God longs to be the shield that deflects the death blows of life from consuming us. He longs to be the one treasure that we exalt above all else in our lives. If He is our shield and our great reward, then no matter what is going on in the other “times” of our lives there will still be stability, peace and strength. He has been here all along. Now Christ in us, the hope of glory, the riches of His glory sustains us (Colossians 1:27). We may not see Him visibly but He is with us always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). He is the best of times that has entered into the worst of times to redeem it and us with His very life. God be our shield and may we exalt you as our exceedingly great reward.

“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.” Psalm 18:35

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