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Afflictions Eclipsed by Glory
by Cristian O'Brien
05/31/12
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I am half a world away. I am in the jungle, and the night is cool, dark, and humid. In front of me lie green trees as endless as the ocean, disappearing as the mountains meet the sky, forming a glorious horizon. I am lying down. I feel the hard concrete pressing against my head. I look up towards the heavens, and a sea of God's stars shine back at me. Resonating through the headphones resting on my head, I hear the words repeating, "He loves us, O how He loves us." At the sights I take in and the words playing into my ears, my soul becomes overwhelmed and satisfied as my finite mind attempts to comprehend His infinite love for me.

I have failed Him, yet He has forgiven me. He has given me more than I need, and I have ignored him. He has reached out to me, while I have backed away. He has chosen me, but I haven't chosen Him. He has given me a second chance, and I haven't thanked Him. He has given me His Word, yet I haven't even talked to Him. He has shown me His ways, and I haven't honored Him. He has rescued me, and I have abandoned Him. He died for me, why don't I live for Him?

I am beginning to sweat now. Once again, the words pierce into my soul: "He loves us, O how He loves us." I think about the way He formed the stars that are hung in the sky. I think about the vast and elaborate, yet detailed and precise universe He has given us. I remember that when He created me, He knew that I was one of His chosen people. I remember that He knows the number of hairs on my head. I remember that He allowed his Son to be crucified on the cross to reconcile the relationship between us. The song continues, and I am reminded that I am redeemed by the love of my Savior - "If his grace is an ocean, we're all sinking."

I turn on my side, and I begin to recall the scriptures: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27). My mind races because I know that this is not the life I am living. I ask myself, "isn't it enough that I am here, serving a community in a foreign country? After all, I am carrying out the Great Commission!" But I know the answer is no, it isn't enough. Because when I am home, I turn a blind eye to the poor, naked, and hungry. Once again, scripture invades my mind, and I remember the words of the apostle John, "If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?" (1 John 3:17).

I roll onto my back again, and see that the clouds above me are beginning to cover the sea of twinkling stars and I hear the song continue: "I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us." My heart and mind have stopped. I feel the sweat grow thicker. A tear forms in my eye. He reminds me once again that His grace and love will cover me no matter how many times I fail to please Him. His love for me is too much to comprehend. At this moment, I declare in my heart and in my soul, with everything that I am, that my sole purpose is to approach the throne of God and hear my Father in heaven say to me, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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