Think back to your childhood. One evening you and a friend were lying out in your backyard in the damp green grass looking up at the starlit night and dreaming about the lives that were ahead of you. You had visions for a wonderful life, filled with health, happiness, and prosperity. In the 1950s this concept of the “American Dream” was popularized – living in a suburban house with a white picket fence with your spouse, two children, and a dog.
You had this idyllic view of your future, one that was extremely happy, peaceful, and charming. There was no mention of cancer, unemployment, divorce, addiction, stress of dealing with aging parents, or any of the other challenges that we all have in life. Every one of your dreams would come true, and you would live happily ever after. You remember those childhood dreams, right?
You invited Jesus into your life and with that you thought that the difficulties and failures of your past would turn back into those childhood dreams. You listened to others who shared their story of how Jesus made their life so much better. Somewhere along the way you got the false impression that anchoring yourself to Jesus would mean smooth sailing, no more rough seas or gusty winds.
But, today you look at your life and it just seems to be one new challenge upon top of another and you find yourself becoming disillusioned, discouraged, frustrated, maybe even hopeless. At every turn you seem to face another road block or detour. The dreams you had, well, you have stopped dreaming and right now you simply just want to hang on and ride out the waves without taking on more water. You find yourself questioning your faith. Your dream might have even turned into a nightmare.
Jesus Himself tells us that life is full of trials and tribulations. In John 16:33 He says that “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 we read these hopeful words – “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Picture your life as a tapestry. God is weaving together a beautiful masterpiece. Often from our point of view, which is the back side, all we see is a jumble of knotted, frayed, tangled, twisted and random threads. Nothing makes much sense. But from God’s point of view, the front side, He sees art – rich and vibrant colors, a masterpiece of breathtaking beauty.
The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said this, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
So regardless of what you feel like, or what your life looks like, God is still faithful and caring for you. He is in control and is working out your life in a way that, looking back, will all make sense one day. God sees the “front,” while we on the other hand only see the “back.”
New Bern, North Carolina