We all face difficulties in life. Those difficulties often lead to disappointment. And those disappointments can easily lead to discouragement.
What’s important is how we view each dilemma as it rears its ugly head. And we are wise to deal with each head on.
It’s quite easy to simply stew in our dilemma and just let it build up along with other circumstances that crop up in our lives. Before we know what’s happening, we become victims of our circumstances and can’t seem to find our way out of the quagmire of quandaries that bog us down in life.
I know I’m presenting a dismal picture, but I truly believe many of those around us find themselves in such situations and really don’t know what to do to get out of this downward spiral. The natural tendency is to keep our feelings to ourselves and not share our suffering with others who may well be able to help us get out of our funk.
This may startle you, but none of us are immune from the highs and lows, ups and downs, and numerous turns in the winding road of life. We will all eventually face the loss of loved ones, financial setbacks, physical ailments, business dealings that go south and death in God’s time. We can’t control much in our life and simply need to learn how to roll with the punches.
I often look to Hebrews 11 to put my life challenges in proper perspective. By reading through the “faith” chapter, we see how the cloud of witnesses that has gone before us endured hardships that make our circumstances seem miniscule in comparison to their trials. And imagine, they were looking forward to the coming Messiah and we simply have to look back to see the Jesus.
As a young boy I helped my grandmother in her garden in their back yard. She planted various vegetables on the ¼-acre plot that our family used daily. One of the important tasks required was to continually oversee the removing of the weeds from the garden.
My grandmother was a hardy lady and she did most of the weeding herself. Occasionally my grandfather would assist her when he had a break in his farming chores. Her garden continually thrived with proper weeding and watering of the plants grown without any pesticides or additional nutrients. She nurtured her Victory Garden and it produced wonderful sustenance for the four of us who benefited from her hard work.
In life, we need to remove the weeds and properly water our souls. Let’s take this discussion a bit further.
I know Christians who attempt to take on this task on their own. Frankly, I’ve found that being part of a local assembly of believers works best. Hearing God’s word preached from a pulpit and taught by qualified teachers has greatly enhanced my understanding of the Bible (my operations manual) and through it all I’m better equipped to handle the challenges of life.
In Hebrews 10:24-25 the author states, “And let us consider how we can spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Can you see the day approaching? I can certainly see that we are nearing the end times and look forward to seeing Jesus face-to-face even though I certainly don’t feel worthy. You see, I have some weeds in my garden that need to be removed and, if you look closely, I’m sure you do as well. They may just be sprouting out of the soil or hidden in the nooks and crannies, but they are there.
Our sin nature sets us up for failure, but victory is in our grasp, if we simply place our faith in Christ. We need to accept the supernatural gift of salvation and find fellowship to nurture us as the Day approaches.
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.