Some Days Are Harder Than Others

Life is downright hard some days. You juggle multiple irons burning in the fire at near lightspeed and manage to accomplish the laundry list of to-dos without overstepping your boundaries or hurting anyone. All day, you’ve managed to keep all four wheels between the lines as you truck down life’s highway. And then life deals you an unexpected blow or smacks you in the face with all its force for no other apparent reason other than because it can. You know—those moments where life takes your breath away but not in a good way. As people of faith, we are not immune from these valleys we stumble into along our journey. Life hurts. Yes, Virginia: the Struggle is real. 

What do we do?

As believers, we are called to continue on, faithfully, walking humbly, acting gently, being grateful, and nurturing a spirit of forgiveness. In our words and deeds, we show love, blessing even those who curse us. Even when it hurts. Yes, we mourn, and we grieve. Yes, we fervently pray, begging God for relief from our struggles. But it doesn’t end there. We get up and go on, moving forward, towards the prize, running the race with all our might until the very end.

As redeemed children of God Most High, we are all in recovery, rescued from our shortcomings, no longer bound by the chains of sin, while all the while, day by day, learning how to live life because He lives. It’s not easy. We aren’t perfect. But we are changed, no longer the same. Like new creations learning to find our way, we stumble, and we struggle, getting up after each fall.

God is SO good. Even on our worst days, He shepherds us, providing all we need to maneuver through the trials and tribulations this earthly life brings, from time to time during different seasons. In our plight, we turn to the Lord, showing our dependence on Him to traverse the storms life brings our way.

Jesus Calms a Storm Matthew 8:23-27 (ESV)
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

cross-66700_1920-edit

 

Where Does Your Help Come From?

Being human means that we grapple with a variety of issues and wrestle with an array of problems in our lives. Often, we don’t encounter them one at a time but rather we plow into several of them all at once. Certain days, it feels like all the forces in the universe conspired to come together, wailing on us, assaulting our senses and disrupting our sensibilities. Life can be disconcerting and leave us discouraged and disheartened. While our life is filled with memorable moments, difficult days are ones we’d rather forget; sooner, rather than later.

On those days and in those moments where your life seems unbearable and the pressure of it all just seems to be too much, where does your help come from? Where do you turn?

            For the mountains may depart

      and the hills be removed,

                  but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,

      and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”

      says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10 (ESV)

After nearly half a century of living—some good, some bad—I’ve come to rely on the Bible as my source of help. Through Scripture, I am reminded of my loving God who cares for me and whose strength I can rely on to see me through any storm. Where there is sunshine, there will be rain.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”-The Gospel of Matthew 6:34 (ESV)

It is important for me, as a recovering alcoholic and addict, to remember to live one day at a time, trusting that God will meet my future needs while letting go of yesterday. Letting go of yesterday means I have to reconcile each day, being careful not to give seed to resentment, and forgiving readily. Trusting God to meet my future needs means that I have to not fret or worry, or in my case over-plan or over-control (I’ve been known to be a planner and control freak). “Let go and let God” is truly a mantra I have to implement in my daily living. Living “one day at a time” is also a repeated refrain in my life.

Me and D

When I’m afraid I remember the words of the psalmist who in Psalm 46 wrote:

           God is our refuge and strength,

      a very present help in trouble.

            Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

      though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

              though its waters roar and foam,

      though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Psalm 46:1-3(ESV)

When I am weak, the words of Psalm 91 strengthen me.

            He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

      will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

               I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,

      my God, in whom I trust.”

             For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

      and from the deadly pestilence.

            He will cover you with his pinions,

      and under his wings you will find refuge;

      his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91: 1-4 (ESV)

When I feel vulnerable, the words of the prophet Nahum hold me up.

      The LORD is good,

      a stronghold in the day of trouble;

                  he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7 (ESV)

RBantau pencil

When my heart is heavy and troubled and I am feeling anxious, I can turn to the Gospel of John for encouragement.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1 (ESV)

No matter what I encounter along life’s journey, I can trust in the Lord.

             The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;

      his mercies never come to an end;

             they are new every morning;

      great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

While it may seem antiquated to some and a book of fairy tales to others, I know that God’s Word is true and that I can trust in it to tap into the source that helps me navigate the trials and troubles life brings. The Bible brings me support, comfort, and encouragement. Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and through the truth of God’s Word my life has truly been transformed and powerfully changed. Scripture anchors my soul, reminding me that God is trustworthy and if He is for me I need not fear who is against me because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.