Sometimes our hands are tempted to hold too tightly to the things of this world. We can become so focused on the temporal that we neglect the eternal. We can become so wrapped up in the here and now that our grip can become vise-like as we hold on to things that really don’t matter for eternity.
And then God allows a season of turmoil or of question marks in our life. A season where we can’t find our footing. Where we can’t catch our breath. A season where we have no option but to trust Him.
Some of these seasons include things like scary diagnoses, chronic illness, job or career changes, a move across the country, family issues like elderly parents in ill health or rebellious children who walk away from all they’ve been taught. They can be filled with financial troubles, disunity or discord with family or friends, or persecution for being a Christian. Sometimes these seasons include the death of someone we dearly love. Sometimes these seasons are filled with a multitude of challenges that, when added up, feel incredibly burdensome. They usually are filled with question marks and impossible puzzles that we can’t solve on our own and that might never be solved. These seasons are dark and scary and sad. They are painful and difficult and formidable. Some of them are short and some last a very long time. They are always painful and difficult.
These seasons often bring us back to proper priorities. They remind us that we are pilgrims in a foreign land and we are just passing through. They start to loosen our grip on this world.
Hard as these are, these seasons also often accomplish much good in our lives, don’t they?
I love Romans 8:28-29–
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Whether it’s a challenging child, a difficult co-worker, a cancer diagnosis, or the death of a dear loved one, God can somehow take all of these things and everything else that happens in our lives and use them for His purposes and His glory. He uses them to mold us and shape us into Christ’s image.
One of the things God has been teaching me through the past few years of constant change is to release my grip on this life. I am not one who rolls with change very well and it’s been no easy task to pry my fingers loose from the life I dearly loved. But God is faithfully accomplishing His purpose in my life, despite my ornery, obstinate heart.
Just when I think I am getting used to one change, along comes another. That is what is happening yet again. Without going into any details, I am headed back to work in our landscaping company for at least this year. While I have always worked for the company several hours each week, beginning this year those hours are substantially increasing. I have complete peace that I am doing the right thing. God has orchestrated many details to show us that this is the direction I am to be going. But I never like change and this is no exception. I also have a plate already full of commitments and feel pretty overwhelmed, so, as of right now, it feels a bit impossible. My mom always said you can only “eat an elephant one bite at a time” so that is what I am going to do. Take one day at a time and do what needs to be done. I am not exactly sure what all of this means for Growing4Life. I am going to do my best to continue blogging but will probably have to decrease the frequency.
I have been thinking a lot about some things during this time of decision.
I am recognizing that my life is not my own. I write a lot about not living by feelings or emotions and yet I find that this is a really big struggle for me. I had a picture of what this time of my life would look like and God is erasing that and giving me a different picture. I am not thrilled about this but God has really been teaching me to yield myself to Him. That I need to follow Him and His will, even if it isn’t necessarily what I desire.
I have also been realizing just how blessed I have been and still am. Looking back over our years often reminds us of how much there is to be thankful for. Whenever change comes, it reminds us to express gratitude for what was. Even if it is gone. Perhaps especially if it’s gone. Nothing lasts forever on this earth. It also reminds us to be thankful for what we have right now. The many blessings that are ours despite the undesired path we may be on. A heart of gratitude remembers to look for the good things wherever we find ourselves in life.
I also recognize that this change I am facing is hardly even a trial on the scale of trials. So many of you are facing such incredibly hard things. And it reminds me that we must be so gentle and kind with one another. That we must be filled with grace as we support each other in our walks through this life. Life can be so hard. An encouraging word or deed can be a true balm to the soul in turmoil.
So let’s be kind to one another today. Let’s take time to pray for someone facing an overwhelming trial or walking through a difficult season. We can strengthen them with our prayers.
And let’s not hold too tightly to the things of this world. For this world is passing away.
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (I John 2:17)