My dreams for a beautiful landscape began taking shape the moment I got off the couch and started moving. As I focused on Christ, the pressure to come up with a perfect solution for my weed infested yard soon disappeared. By facing the challenge before me, making a plan and working hard, my yard transformed. Everything fell into place and I was at peace.
When our hard work comes together and we achieve our goal, we often sense peace. We adjust to this new stage of life and enjoy the fruits of our labor. We feel blessed and may believe ourselves entitled to exist in this new, picture perfect life. Living a life void of any hardships is a quite a beautiful dream to behold. Sadly though, our lives rarely remain in peaceful perfection. We cannot escape the fact that we are still imperfect people living in an imperfect world.
The unexpected happened to me on a cold wet November afternoon. I was standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes around 3:30 when I heard the screeching sound of car breaks, followed by the loud crunching sounds of medal as it smacks against another object. The whole house shook like we were in an earthquake. The downstairs window in our office blew out sending shards of glass all over the room. I ran to the sliding glass door that leads to the backyard to see what happened. To my surprise, I found a twisted and mangled car sitting in the corner of my yard. My new landscape, only 2 years old, was now gone.
Life is not easy. Accepting Christ as our Savior does not free us from experiencing difficult circumstances. Many Christians believe God has promised us a perfect life now, yet Jesus promised us the opposite; He prayed that we would be safe in Him, while we remain in this troublesome world (Jn 17:15). This means that brokenness and difficult challenges will remain an ever present force in our lives until Christ comes again. The broken state of this world became very apparent to me when a drunken young man crashed into my backyard.
When bad circumstances happen to us we often ask, “Where was God in this?” or “Why did God let this happen?” We want to know “why me?” No one can easily answer those questions. I can’t even begin to address why catastrophes happen to good people, but I can say this, Christ has not left us alone to fend for ourselves. We are not orphans without a loving guardian. The last words Jesus spoke to his disciples made it very clear, when he leaves another would come (Jn 14:25-27, 16:7). When the Holy Spirit moved into our lives we became family with Jesus. That means that we do not walk alone, EVER! When facing challenging circumstances, we can endure by clinging to these promises:
Did you know that everything in heaven and on earth was created by Jesus? Not only was our Universe created by Jesus, it’s also held together by Him (Col 1:16-18). Think about it, we are part of this gloriously created world. No matter what is going on in our lives, we are safely held in His hands. We can’t be torn out of them because He holds everything together! This gives us a tremendous advantage when facing difficulties. As long as we remain focused on Christ, He shields us from feeling the full extent of any tragedy we face. We have to walk through the difficult circumstances, but we are protected from its deadly “sting”.
To my surprise, I wasn’t very upset about losing my new landscape. Because I was focused on Christ, the incident didn’t affect me personally. I saw the damage as nothing more than a new challenge in need of fixing.
Next, you’ll hear how tragedy can be our teacher ...
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