A life following Jesus isn't an easy life. But it's the best possible life we could ever live. And it takes us to the best place we could ever be: the heart of God, the very definition of goodness. You’d think we’d rush to taste that goodness. What kind of healthy human doesn’t want to experience inner peace, to be truly and faithfully loved, to live with a sense that they and their lives matter? Yet we hold back....afraid the sweetness holds poison. Convinced the fruit we’ve been told is scrumptious will turn out sour or bland. Suspicious that the goodness is all taste and no nourishment for our famished souls.
It sounds obvious, yet sometimes we seem to forget. We get caught up in work, routines, and family duties and relegate friendship to luxury status. Or we get plunged into pain or struggle and try to soldier on alone. We think we have to do it, that our burdens are ours alone to carry, that no one can ever understand, that no one should ever have to share our struggle.
We can’t always control the way we feel in contentious situations. But with God’s help, we can control how we respond.
Yes, trouble may chase us. Pain may nag us. Sorrow might ambush us again and again. Guilt and shame may nip at our heels. But the only things that can keep up with us, day in and day out, all the days of our lives, are the goodness and faithful love of God. And like the Good Shepherd He is, He will send them after us relentlessly. No, scratch that – He’ll come after us Himself, bringing them with Him. Because that’s who He is.
Suffering when you can see the point is hard. Suffering when you can’t see the point is harder.
Maybe you're facing a problem, old or new, that has you frozen in your tracks or pacing in your bunker. Maybe you've tried giving it (or yourself) time, but found yourself growing stagnant. Or maybe, as overwhelmed as you feel at the thought of moving forward, waiting it out simply isn't an option. But how do we get moving? How do we live – really live – in the face of our nemeses?
Some things are worth persevering for. In fact, most worthwhile pursuits require perseverance. And there are cases in which perseverance pays off.
Maybe you've felt similarly in seasons of major change. Maybe you've stood on the line between familiar and foreign territory and wondered: How do I handle the newness? How can I possibly move forward from endings into beginnings?
The Christian life is so much more than that one decision followed by a waiting game until eternity gets here. Faith is so much more an idea, a ticket we tote around until we get to Heaven’s gate and present it for admittance.
Even in the midst of heart-stopping terror, He offers the heart-healing, life-giving good news of His presence, love, and care.