Life is difficult, sometimes downright horrific.
There are the day to day annoyances: The rude person at the bank, the person who cut you off in traffic, the lady at the grocery store blocking the aisle.
There are the heart rending conflicts with people: The spouse that is always critical, the child who is angry you adopted him, the child who is angry you gave birth to him, the “friend” who defriended you on Facebook, being accused of something unthinkable by someone who knew better.
There are the life changing difficulties: Job loss, Divorce, Death in the Family, Sexual Abuse.
It does no good to pretend these things don’t hurt us. To put a smile and say “Praise the Lord” does not change what is happening within our hearts. Psalm 51:6 says “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being…” God knows about these struggles. It isn’t wise to forget they happened or deny their existence. They need to be faced honestly with God. We should bring these things to him and let him address them head on.
Own up to the fact that you got mad at the lady in the grocery store, that you were offended by the rude driver. Only then can God deal with your own selfish heart that puts your own wants and needs before others.
Own up to the fact that when your spouse uses cruel or critical words it wounds you. It cuts you to the core. Own up to the fact that you are devastated that your child doesn’t return the love that you so carefully and tirelessly gave him. Own up to the fact that you were blindsided by this friend who now appears to be your enemy.
Own up to the fact that losing your job has made you worry about the future, the divorce has shaken your belief that all is right with the world, the death has left you wanting to die yourself, longing for heaven and the promise of no more death and pain (Revelation 21:4), the sexual abuse has left you doubting the goodness of God in the midst of the memories and betrayal.
If we are honest we realize we don’t have the ability to respond as we should, it is only through the power of Christ that we can move forward with grace and purpose. Philippians 4:6 says “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” As we bring these things to God we see the impossible happen. Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Vs. 8 gives us suggestions on what to set our mind on “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
The point here is not that we are happy about difficulties, but only with God’s strength can we learn to be content and yes, even rejoice in what God is doing in our lives in the midst of trouble.
Philippians 4:11-13 gives us one final word on dealing with impossible circumstances.
“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstances I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Trouble will continue to come. It is only through God’s grace that we can respond as we should. Turn your face to God and let him bit by bit change your focus, your mindset and your heart.