|Taughannock Falls State Park, Ithaca NY|
Our journey in life is like a path in the woods. One day, the sun shines through the trees allowing the small flowers on a low growing vine to be noticeable, and a smile forms on our faces. The woodsy path may be full of life and tantalizes our senses. Little chipmunks scurry and wildflowers fill the air with dainty fragrance.
Other times, the sun no longer seems to shine through the trees. All we see are rocks, tangled roots and decaying debris that seem impassable. Menacing clouds threaten us and sounds of stalking predators chill us to the bone. What has caused our pleasant woods to change? Has it been the loss of a loved one, an illness that is lingering, a problem with a relationship, or loss of income and recurring debts to pay? How long has this family member been suffering? Why did this sickness drag on for all these months? We may all seek the answers to these questions, but how do we manage our day-to-day living while in the midst of these trials that seem to have no solution? Is there any hope of getting around these obstructions?
Even Jesus told us that there would be hard times (tribulations). He also told us we can be at peace.
John 16:33 (NKJV) These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16), we can have hope through the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. We can be strengthened within our weak bodies and minds so that we can endure with patience the hardships that have come across our paths. We can be filled with JOY and PEACE as we recognize what our Lord and Savior has done for us.
Romans 15:13 (MEV)
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 1:11, 13 (NKJV)
strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love [Jesus Christ]
Our heavenly Father is the God of HOPE. He has delivered us from the power of darkness, the evil one, the thief, who “comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10a). God has “conveyed” or transported us to the kingdom of His Son, Jesus, whose resurrection power is ours each day here on this earth.
How can we take a step beyond our trial and start that new creation, or continue with something even while dealing with these obstacles, so that we can finish? Sometimes the “pressures” of “time” to accomplish necessary chores, job deadlines, project due dates, and even ministry functions keep us so “busy in our minds” that we don’t know how we can “stop” and REST. Our hearts are screaming “I NEED TO REST” but our minds are pushing us, shouting “DON’T STOP” until we finish the worldly business of living! The battle is fierce, but we have already won the victory through Jesus Christ.
Can we “sit still” and “know that He is God” throughout the day? (Psalm 46:10)
Can we “pray without ceasing” and be ‘refreshed’? (1 Thess. 5:17; Isaiah 28:12)
Can we connect with another believer and ‘agree together’ for the conclusion of the situation? (Matthew 18:19 “Again, I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”)
Yes, we can do all these things through Jesus. So, remember as you continue on your path (life) through the woods. There will be bright days and sadly, there will be dark days but determine to focus on the light. Don’t get so caught up in the trials of life that you can’t see the forest through the trees. Jesus is the truth and the life and the WAY (John 14:6). Choosing the path that leads to Him will always take you to hope and victory.