Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Quick Thoughts: How to Respond When Life Is Awful

There are those times when life is just going great. Everything is falling into place, and you're having a great time of it. Life feels so good.

But then, there are all the other times.

And some of those other times are when life is just awful. You've just dealt with some issue that has drained you. And as you anticipate a little time to catch your breath, something else comes up. You have a new problem to deal with, but you don't have the wherewithal to deal with it.

So, what  do you do when life gets to be too much? You rejoice.

And doesn't that sound like a Christiany way of trying to ignore problems? It does - unless you really do understand what Christian rejoicing is about. It's not about slapping on a smile and telling yourself to feel happy. It's about trusting Jesus. We rejoice in the face of problems by clinging - desperately, if necessary - to this thought: Jesus knows what He's doing with my life (even as He presents me with  another problem to deal with), and what He's working toward will be very good - for me and especially for His kingdom. Rejoicing is an act of faith in the goodness of Jesus.

Rejoicing won't make the problem go away. It won't make it easier to handle. It will still be there, as ugly as it was. But Jesus will see your rejoicing by faith (and lots of times through tears), and He will act to give you what you need to deal with it well.

Isn't this what Paul was getting at when he wrote,
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
The key is understanding that the peace of God is not a promise that the problem will disappear. It is, rather, a promise of the calmness that we need to be able to deal well with the problem.

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