We’re fallen and weak. On our own, we will lose our way causing us to stumble and fall through life. Jesus is the answer, we’re told. He cares for us. He’ll show us the way. He’ll provide for us, guide us and, generally make our lives run smoothly. The abundant life is ours for the taking.
What if it’s all a huge misunderstanding? What if God never intended our lives to be easy? What if Jesus really is the answer and He does care for us but the way He shows us is rocky and barren? What then? What kind of abundant life is that?
I’ve struggled at times with such questions. I’m sure many of you have. The abundant life sounds so good. Why, then, are things so hard? Because we live in a world that values self and comfort above God and truth. When pride gets in our way, we lose our way. Yet most of us keep on heading down the pathway of destruction not ever stopping to think about what we are doing. The abundant life is abundant. It’s abundantly full of grace, of God, of truth. When the way is rough, and if it isn’t now, it will be, God will be our Way. He’ll guide us safely from here to Heaven, no matter how many landmines we have to walk through to get there. Often the landmines are of our own making. Sometimes others manufactured them for us. If you are like me, you get really really really tired of having to gingerly step about, trying to keep yet another mine from blowing up.
But blow up they will. At those moments we have a choice. We can keep on looking at Jesus, keep on trusting in God’s goodness, or we can look at self and circumstances and trust those or our perceptions of those above what God has said.
Sometimes the pain just won’t stop. I have so many friends who are suffering from false accusations, job losses, unfaithful spouses, health issues and so much more. And my family, it just seems that we can never get ahead. There’s always disaster looming just out of sight. Or sometimes right in our sight. One bad thing happened and then another and another until it snowballed to such a point, there’s no way we can get out of it without God’s direct intervention.
You get tired of hurting, tired of being lied about, tired of struggling just to keep your nose above water. I’m tired of seeing my children need things I cannot provide. And Christmas is coming. What do I do with that? How can I give them presents when there are bills that, humanly speaking, I cannot pay? Not bills of extravagance but of necessity? Shelter, utilities and the such? What do I do? What do my friends do? Look at our circumstances? Or look at Christ?
It’s really easy to look at our circumstances. But then we become like Peter who took his eyes off of Jesus and sunk beneath the waves. There’s just too many waves for me to take my eyes off of Him, even for a second. If I do, I drown.
You probably know someone who is struggling with fear, confusion, pain or troubles of some kind. Call them up, drop them an email, go visit them. If you can, do something to alleviate their need. Sometimes even five dollars makes a difference. Always a smile or a hug does. Just go, be there, and love them. They’ll appreciate you for it.
Sometimes you won’t know what to do in this valley of trials. But, even in those times, there is always something you can do and that something is trusting in God to be good, no matter what. Your circumstances do not dictate how good God is. He dictates your circumstances, even when they are full of pain. So trust Him and keep on trusting Him. When you do, I promise you, He’ll see you through.