[Brian Regan is one of my all-time favorite comedians. He never ceases to ease the tension in my shoulders, while giving me a chance to lighten up. Watch this after you read today's post--or now, if you are a rebel ].
Lemons I can deal with, but rocks? They just hurt. And then what?
Last week attacked my spirit with some mean warrior skill, beating me up and leaving me no room to catch my breath. But that's how the enemy works; he doesn't play nice and he certainly doesn't give you a chance to get up. I'm still feeling a little bruised and troubled...so this reminder is as much for me as it is for you.
“Weeping may tarry for the night,
Lately, the idea of "to live is Christ and to die is gain" has been leaning heavily on one end of the equation. Granted, my perspective can easily become lopsided by my "perceived" tribulation (After all, what do I in middle-class America know of true pain and difficulty? Very little.) Still, I've wanted to throw in the towel, chuck the lemon, scream "Uncle"--what have you. I'm done here, God. I'm ready to go. To die is gain. I know what awaits me and this stuff is for the birds.
I couldn't respond as Paul did: Paul, we are going to kill you. That is cool, then I will go to Christ. Ok Paul, we are going to let you live. That is great, then I can witness Christ. Ok, then we will torture you. That is fine, then I will receive a reward in Heaven one day. - Tony Evans (paraphrase)
But I'm missing a key component of life: it's not about me.
He is the one that determines what my life looks like and when it is over.
My life is forfeit and I'm not in charge anymore.
Discouragement overshadows my spirit when I refuse to acknowledge the true King and the coming kingdom.
“If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. If you look at God you'll be at rest.”― Corrie ten Boom
I was looking at myself, my own strength and taking my capabilities (or lack thereof) way too seriously. So, refocus, re-calibrate to what I know and Who is in charge.
*When fear threatens to strangle the air from my lungs, I shout to the darkness, "He loves me. He's never going to leave me or forsake me." (Deut. 31:6)
*When anger stomps in and I yell at the kids, kick the basket of laundry, and cry with frustration over yet another broken appliance, I tell myself, "This too shall pass. Lord, give me strength and help me to number my days, focusing on what really matters." (Psalm 39:4, Psalm 90)
*When anxiety over what-ifs kick me into "fix-it" mode, our checking account refuses to budge and I wonder how we could have spent so much on groceries already, I remind myself that money is not my security.(James 4:14, Matt. 6:25-34, Phil. 4:6-7)
*When yet another person is diagnosed, falls into temptation, leaves their family, walks away, dies, I come back to His grace is sufficient for me right now where I am. (2 Cor. 12:9).
When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer. - Corrie Ten Boom
Psalms 94:19 When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
Although this place won't be Heaven and won't be free of burdens, trials, or frustrations. We'll struggle till we leave, but we don't have to lose hope and we certainly don't have to cave to the weight of this world--Jesus already carries that burden and has released us. (Matt. 11:30).
Even the pain persists and relationships crumble and children get sick and people lose their jobs, we can choose to rejoice in the midst of it all.
Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs, jolted by every pebble in the road.”
Our joy is a testament to our true belief-system. Do you believe He is enough? Do you believe He loves you and won't walk away? Do you believe that He can cover over all our weaknesses, carry us in our pain, deliver us from bondage? As my mom often says, "Either He is enough or He isn't. And I believe He is.
" If lips and life do not agree, the testimony will not amount to much."
- Harry Ironside
He doesn't want us to trudge through life with bitter resignation and a constipated look of worry on our brow. He wants us to show the world that He is the Overcomer and one day He is returning to set all things right. He's got this.
Sometimes you just have to hit pause on your day and choose to offer up a dance of praise, a shout of joy, a laugh to ease the strain. For one day all will be well and all will be well and all will be well.