"Let's go for a drive..." that usually means we need to have (and will have) some contemplative conversations...
Going for drives has been something Jeff and I have liked to do for a long time. No destination in mind, just drive, enjoy the scenery and talk. Typically it's when we need to look closely at what's going on in our lives and process what God may or may not be doing. Far too often it's to talk ourselves out of the pervasive thoughts to walk away and quit everything.
Well that was blunt. Ministry life is hard friends. And I'm afraid most do not fully understand or realize just how hard it can be.
Just a few weeks ago we found ourselves out for a drive...pondering a difficult situation.
We actually haven't done this in a long while. Not that we haven't had any necessary or thought provoking conversations, we've had plenty. But sometimes we'll find a place to stop and park before we head back towards home because the conversation needs more time. Ironically, this time we found ourselves at one of the local battlefields...
While walking around the park enjoying the sunset, taking pictures and quiet in thought, Jeff spoke up and said,
"Just because life's hard, doesn't mean it's bad."
"Just because life's hard, doesn't mean it's bad."
When we get caught up in trying to fight this war on our own or consider giving up- instead focusing on the hard painful battle, we fail to remember with gratitude all that is good and to see all that God has done, giving thanks for all that is good and right.
We easily forget sometimes that while on this earth we are in the biggest fight of our life. The battles we face daily, sometimes even a season, are not of the earthly kind but are of another world. Our enemy will stop at nothing in an attempt to get us to stop serving God or at least become ineffective for the kingdom. And in that, you better believe he’s also gonna do his best to get us to stop believing God, to let go hope and of our faith altogether.
Recently we had one of those moments... Hope is raised for one fleeting moment and then the blow hits so hard you can't even breathe. The pain seems unbearable.You question, How much more God? What are you doing, God? Not again. When is it going to let up? We/I don't have anything left...
But then, if I believe what I say I believe and God is who He says He is, then I must stand firm. Right?
In recent months it has been extremely hard to bounce back. I've struggled to trust God. To believe that we can come out on the other side of a situation. Honestly it's been a season. A long long season, years even. And we're just tired.
We all had no idea what was coming. While I originally wrote this out of personal thoughts and circumstances I'm amazed at all that has taken place in 2 short weeks. So much change- uncertainty- unsettledness- fear- anxiety... A battle like most of us have never known.
Jeff had expressed to me and to our church in January 2020 that he was sensing this year would be a difficult one, one of storms many of us couldn't imagine.
And the year rang in headlong, hitting home as well as to those both close and acquainted, one right after the other. But none of us would've expected what is taking place right now across our nation and the world with the coronavirus.
So how do we respond to a statement like that- just because life's hard, doesn't mean it's bad?
Because right now- life is VERY HARD. And I am right there with you struggling to hold on to hope. It's hard to not be stressed and anxious about it all. It's a minute by minute practice to turn my thoughts back toward God and remember hope. It's taxing when we're in the middle of so much uncertainty not only about right now but also the future and how this will (and is already) affecting it.
But then, if I believe what I say I believe and God is who He says He is...
Thinking back to my personal experience when I originally started this post. I couldn't sleep that night. Thinking. Anxious. Tired. So I turned on music. Jesus music. Worship. And then the flood came in with words of promise... words starting as songs of praise becoming words directly from Him filling me with truth and hope.
And isn't that just how Jesus is. He comes quietly in the middle of all loud shouts of our enemy and worries of this world. He gives us what we need. As I turn my thoughts toward Him, He shows up to help, to give strength, to hold our hand and nudge us away from the edge. And forces me to SEE HIM.
It usually takes me a while to get my mind back in the right place where it needs to be. But you know what? Not that day. Instead, I got angry. Angry at my enemy. Angry at myself for ever allowing myself to fall prey camping out in his lies and schemes attempting to block God's plans. So I made a choice. A simple one really.
I made the choice to believe God. To believe what I have always believed. That He IS working. Even though I'm unable to see it for now I have to, I must, believe that He is at work. And though I don't know or understand what He may be doing, I am refusing to let the devil win.
And I can do that now. You can too. We have to fight for our faith and believe God. Believe that even though this Covid-19 war we're facing right now is completely unclear how it will all play out- we can find the good, the "not bad" in the midst of so very hard and different and changed... There is good. God is still good. And God is already the winner. No matter what happens. We have promise in Him. And He's all we've got.
He's fighting for me, for us, and for you. He is indeed fighting for His Kingdom and His Plan. He loves each of us. He loves me and He loves you. And we can trust that He is faithful to work in us for our best no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. Seek Him for strength and turn your mind toward His truth and His promises. He is our Hope and His name is Jesus.
Jeff and I are not going anywhere. We had one of our conversations this morning and even with the disheartening news received recently, we made a choice to change our perspective. Away from ourselves and on Christ. We're trusting God for His best. We believe He still has us right where He wants us to do kingdom work for Him. After all, it isn't about us!
And may we let, whatever season we find ourselves in or how ever discouraging or frightening it may be or feel at times, drive us to live on our knees before Him, refusing to let our enemy win. And refusing to let this new normal we're living right now win out over our faith.
May you also refuse to let the enemy win. Stand your ground and fight your battle before Jesus on your knees, the God who fights for us.
I hope this helps someone today. Like I turn on worship music, I want to know, how do you practice redirecting your thoughts and heart toward God to find courage, strength, hope and peace?