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. You had this idyllic view of your future, one that was extremely happy, peaceful, and charming. You had no place in those dreams for 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.
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 detour. The dreams you had for life, well, you have stopped dreaming and right now you simply just want to hang on and ride out the current wave without taking on more water. You find yourself questioning your faith and asking, “Why me, Jesus? What did I do to deserve this?”
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.”
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 “big picture, while we on the other hand only see as far as our eyes allow us to see.”
We will end with this – Martin Luther, a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformer said these hopeful words on his deathbed…
“The pains and troubles here are like the type that printers set. When we look at them, we see them backwards, and they seem to make no sense and have no meaning. But up there, when the Lord God prints out your life to come, we will find they make splendid reading.”
Twin Rivers Vineyard Church, New Bern, North Carolina