Embrace the Paradox and Rejoice!
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Last night, we concluded the feast of Yom Kippur where Jews throughout the world “afflicted” their souls. However, most kids in Israel look at Yom Kippur as “ride your bikes in the streets day!” You see, Yom Kippur in Israel is the one day when TV and radio stations are completely shut down and the streets are almost completely void of vehicles of any kind. Ironically, some of the only fully operational locations in Israel on Yom Kippur are the hospital emergency rooms – since kids who finally have no restraints on their bikes, skateboards, and roller skates tend to take risks they wouldn't normally take – it's Yom Kippur – they have the streets to themselves!
These two "sides" of Yom Kippur in Israel reflect our experience as believers. Our identification with Yeshua (Jesus) promises a certain degree of affliction in our lives, that we share in the fellowship of His sufferings. Yet we are also like children who can revel in and enjoy the freedom that His sacrifice has brought us into. This is the paradox of our life of faith, and something we can embrace fully by the grace of God.
Knowing and following Yeshua is a life of suffering and great joy, even revelry. Which ever side of the "fence" you're on at the moment, you can be thankful that, because your sins are forgiven, the end of the matter will be better than the beginning. So, count it all joy when you meet with trials....and rejoice in the Lord always...forgiveness of sins is your passport to Eternal Life.
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