"We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even through our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Ever find yourself longing for heaven? Life can make us feel as though all is hopeless. We get in the pit of despair and it seems like life drags on as we are stuck and sinking deeper into the pit. We try to climb out, but then find ourselves falling back down and hitting bottom.
I cannot imagine living this life without Jesus. I know the first half of my life was lived without knowing Him. I was a broken girl in search of love. It's funny, all those places we think we will find it just end up empty. Then we feel as though we are wearing a body cast. Pain covering the inside and no feeling on the outside. That was me after my dad died. I don't think a child of any age should have to be the strong one when losing a parent. That's how I felt at least. I only cried in the darkness when no one was around. I was to be strong for my mom. I even remember people saying to me, "This is really hard on your mom. Now, you be strong for her and don't give her any trouble."
I can't imagine the pain my mom was feeling. I pray I never know the loss of a husband. But my pain was deep and I was alone and drowning in it.
What pain are you carrying today? Have you lost your job? Is family is in despair over drug abuse? Maybe your child is lost and all you want is for him to know the same Lord that has carried you through the darkest times in your life. Might your parents be in bad health and now you are caring for them. There is such sadness that overcomes us to the point in which we feel like giving up. We all have our own story. A story that is very real to us.
I often hear people say, "Well, things could be a lot worse", or "Well, at least you don't have such and such." In some ways, that is true. Maybe that's looking at life with the glass half full. But when your in the pits of despair, pain is pain. We all feel it. It doesn't matter what that pain is, it all hurts the same. It's when your in that pit that you begin to change your way of thinking and now you no longer see that glass as half full, but almost empty.
There is a better way. How do I know? Because for the first part of my life I lived without knowing my Savior. Today, I know Him. I can't imagine being without Him. But I remember how hard things where. How I struggle to make it on my own. I searched for something to bring healing. Something to take my mind off all I was seeing. Today, sure life still gets hard. Tears still flow, but I know without a doubt my Savior is here with me. That makes all the difference.
I know that what I see isn't so much of what is important. It's the very things I don't see that change life around and make that glass half full. Sure, our attitude plays a huge role in our daily lives. We can either get caught up in bitterness and anger as to why our prayers are not answered the way we think they should be or we can see past the circumstance and trust that God is moving behind the scenes in areas we don't even know exist.
Remember the story of Naomi and Ruth? Well, Naomi lost her husband and her two sons. Ruth lost her husband. When Naomi was ready to give up, Ruth stayed by her side. She didn't leave her once. In fact, Ruth left her own family. She left the land that she knew to follow Naomi. God was working in the scenes all around them. Places they didn't even know. They were in a new land. Strangers walking about with nothing. Their name wasn't even worth anything. Until one day when Ruth meets Boaz. Love blossoms and they marry. But there is more to this story. Boaz became, Naomi's kinsmen redeemer. He was as though, he took the shame and all that Naomi carried and washed it away with just being there. He restored her not only in name, but in life. She now had all that she needed. There is much to be said about this story. (Ruth 1:8-2:13, 3:1-12, 4:1-16) Many lessons to learn from. God restores what we once thought was not reparable. It's through our brokenness that He brings the kaleidoscope to our eye.
"When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered. I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before You. Yet, I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory." Psalm 73:21-24
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:23-24
Our God is caring. He is our Provider. He took that cup from us and drank until it was empty. Through the very things that we cannot see, He sees clearly. He sees past the circumstance and pain. There is more to life than just what we can see. Believe me, I know. He has showed me to trust Him. It has taken me a long time to understand I must look past the circumstances of my life. All that emptiness I once felt, has now been filled with the grace of God. He is bringing me full circle and one day I will get to envision all He has done for me.
Redeemer: A person who redeems; especially capitalized: Jesus
Life with Jesus changes everything. It doesn't mean life is now without circumstance. But it means there is One who will not only encourage you, inspire you, and bring you to a new place in life. He will guide you through it all. He will supply all you need. He once stood in your place. He now stands in the gap for you and me. By just turning to Him you will see life from a new perspective. New beginnings are on the horizon for you. Jesus doesn't only want you to soar. He wants to give you a flight plan where you will never again find yourself off course, wondering which way to turn, but always and forever in your Redeemer's sight He will guide you home.