Warning: if you don’t like rock music … turn down your volume, but note the lyrics. Then rock out in your own way!
A few weeks back, I knocking out 9 miles late at night, I was rocking to some Switchfoot and feeling pretty good about my progress. As I jogged along, I reflected on some of the blogs I had read and people who have influenced my mini life-renaissance that is currently pushing me forward. I have told you about a couple of these folks (Annie B and Bill). I find myself in awe of their ability to utilize the gifts that God has placed within them to overcome adversity and still reach out to touch others. There are many others that I have watched impact lives on a consistent basis. I may not know their stories, but I think that it is safe to assume that they have had their share of adversity. After all, bible even warns us that we will run into some bumps in the road.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation… ” (John 16:33a ESV)
So what sets these people apart from the rest of us, who are often just paralyzed by the storms of life? (or who bemoan our “tribulations” on Facebook) How is it that some people just seem to dwell on the positive, press on, and become a light instead of disappearing into the black hole of despair? Admittedly, some people are not as susceptible to clouds of depression and a negative outlook. Maybe it is genetic or possibly experiences in our past, or a result of negative upbringing. Whatever it is, maybe we should just keep reading and see what the bible says about this dilemma.
“…But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b ESV)
Oh … take heart .. and you have overcome. Nice … What? I don’t use words like “take heart”. My dark cloud of despair often throws a shadow over my faith so that I can’t see His overcoming power. I am just not getting this!
I am not usually a fan of using the Amplified Bible. (The same reason I don’t read much Charles Dickens … to many words for my tiny brain) In this case, I like it. (I check it out whenever I run across phrases I don’t normally use)
“In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”
Undaunted! I love that! It is better than courageous; better than confident; and more than certain. It speaks to moving forward despite the challenge. What about that challenge? It has been deprived of power! The only power it has over the purpose that God created me for is the power that I give it. He created me to accomplish some things in this life and He has deprived the storms of life (pain, physical abilities, sadness, loneliness …) of the power to stop me from accomplishing all that He has for me. I am the only one that can do that.
What am I doing with this abundant life of mine? Sure, I know I have raised 7 awesome children that are making a their own mark on the world. Admittedly, I have a touched a life or two with my coaching and mentoring., but out of the 52 years of life that I have lived, how much of that time has progressed toward a goal that is worthy of Him whom I purportedly serve?
Have I been moving forward undaunted by adversity? No, I have lived a “daunted” life. I allow myself to become easily discouraged and stagnated by circumstances that do not go as planned. Well … at least as I planned. Are God’s plans daunted by troubles? Of course not! I think it is about time I realized that every moment of every day of this gift of life that He has given me is part of His plan if I choose to be a part of it. It is about time that I start seizing every opportunity to be a part of that plan.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4;13-17)