especially when life does not make sense.
New Year, 2021
Learning to surf is a lot of work - paddling out - waiting, learning balance - eyes always on the horizon and then catching the wave and staying with it! Sorta like life. In life, it sometimes
seems that we make it over one hurdle only to face another right on its heels ... right? The challenge is how to keep thriving, rather than merely hanging on because truth be told, anyone can just hang on . . . no no--I want to be an overcomer. Our Jesus said, ‘take heart, I have overcome the world.’1 In Jesus, you and I are meant to be over-comers!
While I often see grinning television preachers talking about how God just wants us to be happy, telling us we deserve it—well, I don't think it is that way. That kind of thinking/teaching sets up people for crushing disappointment. Christians live in the same broken world that the rest of humanity inhabits and are not immune to sickness, heartache, heartbreak or financial struggle. But
God calls us to trust him and to follow and obey him,
remembering always that his heart toward us is good.
Walking with a good God, following a good God,
being in relationship with a loving God,
makes all the difference in the world!
The tune and lyrics of an old hymn,‘Great is Thy Faithfulness,’ run through my mind. as I remember standing next to my mama in church, holding her hand, whilst we sang ‘...morning by morning, new mercies I see.’ The words draw me to the little referenced book of Lamentations, to read Jeremiah’s words—“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; “great is your faithfulness!”2 Yes and Amen!
So often we acquaint ourselves with a particular verse or verses and miss the surrounding verses that are equally powerful--like the next two verses in Lamentations chapter three. Today I take comfort from these words, “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” There it is again— the Lord is good—and believing that, well—it changes everything!3
Therefore, nothing that happens, nothing that comes our way, not even the incredible challenges of Covid, can change or alter the fact that God’s heart toward is oh, so good. Because of God's goodness, we can trust him--we do not need to be crippled with fear. You see, life is going to happen - a la the year 2020 . There will be heartache, there will be setbacks, pain, disappointment and loss; all are parts of our human condition. As I write, I am praying for a 17-year-old young man who was struck in the head on Halloween and sustained a very traumatic brain injury--pray for Gage, won't you? I have a dear Texas friend who is fighting cancer, others who are under the weight of tremendous financial pressure . . .
Indeed these things happen, no matter who we are, and even when we belong to God. But here’s the thing: walking with God means we can be over-comers, because the Lord is good to those who hope in him, as we read in Lamentations three. But not only that, God promises we will never go it alone. In the Old Testament and in the New Testament, God assures that he 4 will be with us! To Joshua, with a herculean task in front of him, God said,
“This is my command: be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."5
And finally, as those who walk with God, we know how the story ends—one day our faith will be made sight. We will see his face, and we will be with the Lord forever! And then life will make sense because our loving Father will set all things straight.
Until then, we take refuge in God ~ so we can be courageous,
Here's a great song: OVERCOME, Jeremy Camp, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0csB3us2gA
1 - John 16.33
2 - Lamentation 3.22-23
3 - Lamentations 3.24-25
4 - Hebrews 13.5
5 - Joshua 1.9