My pastor delivered a most unusual message in church yesterday. He spoke about how difficult it is for many of use to be happy and jolly this time of the year. He is right. There are times in each of our lives where we come up against obstacles that threaten to knock us over and flatten us. These times cause us to look up to the heavens and cry out, "Why God, why?"
Many are still in the midst of serious financial difficulties. People who have worked hard all their lives are now underemployed or completely unemployed and living off their dwindling savings. They are too young to retire and too old and experienced to be considered for new positions. Changing careers is not an option, and furthering their education would not ever pay off when considering the number of employable years that remain.
I know numerous people who are facing devastating loss as loved ones are losing their lives to illness. In a moment life went from planning the future to being bombarded with medical terminology and treatment options. Words like "terminal" and "hospice" are becoming familiar and for some, realistic hope for a cure in this life is dwindling. We long for them to be released from their suffering, knowing our suffering will truly begin when theirs ends.
Parents who desire a warm, idyllic Christmas gathering with children and grandchildren know that to have the whole family together in one house will be stressful and ugly. The children are at war with each other and that makes the holiday's unbearable. I know of parents who have given up on the idea altogether and have taken to stopping in at the homes of each of their children just so they can see everyone.
I don't know a person whose life is trouble free. No matter what problem you face today, whether it's a large or small issue, life just gets wearing and we tend to get weary of it.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NASB)
When I am weary of this life and its troubles I yearn for the closeness of my Savior. There is no one else who can provide the comfort and the rest my soul and jangled emotions require when I am weighed down with the cares of the world and its people. The rest Jesus speaks of comes as I unload the burdens of my heart onto Him through my prayer time. My troubles certainly don't melt away like snow, but I am comforted in knowing that when I go to Him and talk to Him about these things He hears me. He enters into my troubles with me, spiritually encouraging me and reminding me that I am not alone. Once again I have to ask, how do the unbelievers make it through this life without Christ?
As I share my burdens with Him and read His Word, I am reminded that these difficult days are intended to mature me, shape me, and further develop my Christ-like character. They are intended to make me more like Christ as I share in His sufferings.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son. Romans 8:28-29 (NASB)
Do not weary in doing good my friends. Do not despair and do not think all your worldly misery is for nothing. God is aware of every tear and every sorrow. He is walking with you through every moment of suffering. Your life and its hardships serve a purpose. He is accomplishing His goals in your heart and life too!
Be thankful. Be grateful. He loves you!
Do not despair, pour out your heart to Him. In so doing, you will experience His wonderful lavish grace wash over your aching heart. He will give you rest.
Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.