Do you ever feel like life itself is trying to take you down? I mean, if we're being honest, we can't help but admit there's a lot in the world that has the potential to stop us dead in our tracks and interrupt life as we know it. My son has a friend from Australia, and he likes to joke about the things in Australia that can kill you (he's 17...) :-). Seriously though, sharks, bees, waves, jelly fish, spiders, koalas. Crocodiles... Anyone for the beach?
Yes, there's lots in life that threatens to kill us, but there's not much working in our favor (keeping us alive I mean). Enter in a new corona virus. Sheesh!
Personally I've been through some 'shake the very core of your foundation' circumstances. Everyone has right? If you haven't, you will. The outcome can change us forever...for better or worse.
I don't like negative stuff. It's hard to talk about it. It's hard to know how to respond to someone whos's going through something unless you've been through something yourself.
If all we ever do is talk about the negative it's like we're digging a hole so deep that we can't get out. When we focus on those things it makes them worse. We always head in the direction of our gaze. The other day I was out driving and the driver in the car in front of me went off the road on to the curb. He didn't do that because he was staring at the road. Something else had his attention.
Sometimes though, when you're in the heart of the matter it does consume you for a time. Maybe it has to (consume us) in order to come out the other side of it with wisdom and understanding. Maybe it can take us to new heights of compassion, empathy, learning to respond in love, and loads of other heavenly treasures.
I'm a bible person...meaning I really like to read it and learn from it. Jesus tells us "In this world you will have trouble." Yikes! I mean, I can see it. I understand what that means. It's a hard truth that shakes us to the core when we collide with the reality of it. I'm so glad though that the truth of it doesn't stop there. He goes on to say "But take heart". --I read this 'take heart' and feel encouraged slightly until I go on to read more of what He says. The next part is "I have overcome the world". Now I'm just overwhelmed. Have you ever known anyone to overcome the world?
Until I met Jesus, I've only ever known the world overcoming me.
My identity is not wrapped up in my life circumstances. If my circumstances had a say, I would be abused, anxious and sick with a few choice ailments. That's not what I want in life or out of life. It's not what Jesus wants for me either. Jesus says "“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
He came so that we could live life abundantly. Now--when we define abundance we may list certain things that Jesus would not list. I know if I had a say in what my abundant life should look like, I would put comfort at the top of my list. Comfort can encompass many different things...finances, living, health... you know, comfortable circumstance etc... But we're being honest here... We know that our circumstances can change in the blink of an eye, and with that our comforts are stripped away. Jesus offers something better than we could ever imagine. Wealth, prestige, position and power are not what God had in mind. He never once says "In this world you will have all comfort". No. There's no promise for good health, prosperity or wealth.
Instead, Jesus offers peace in the midst of our trouble. He offers eternal life. He says, "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world." He also says "“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” I want to know what God has prepared, even though I can't conceive it.
I've seen the world, I know the trouble, and I've taken heart, because I also know Jesus. I know His peace in the midst of the trouble. It's peace that doesn't make sense. It's a peace in the midst of the turmoil. The turmoil doesn't stop, but the anxious thoughts and overwhelming swirling of loss of identity and fear of outcome does stop. My life may be interrupted, but my God has interrupted something far more dangerous.
I don't think that everything happens for a reason. I do believe, with all my heart that Jesus can bring something (even many things) good out of it. Romans 8:28 says " And we know that God causes everything to work together[m] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Wherever you are in your story right now, it might not make sense, but just remember you haven't reached the end of it yet. The good news is, if you know Jesus, the end is just the beginning.
The Psalms in the Old Testament are a great example of 'woe is me'. But then, always at the end they move forward from 'woe is me' to 'praise the Lord'.
If you want to start reading the bible, start in the book of John. You may also want to veer off into the psalms....it's a history lesson you may never forget.
Stay off the curb. Don't forget to look in the direction you want to go. Unwittingly you will always head where you're looking.