Monday, October 22, 2012

The Reaction

I had a rough week.

We've all had them. A week when it feels like the ground under our feet is beginning to shake. When people you thought you could trust end up turning a blind eye. When feelings of loneliness, isolation and frustration return to the forefront of our minds, battling for our attention.

It's alright. It happens. It happened to me last week.

Difficult circumstances are a part of life. They will show up. But most of the time, these circumstances are completely and utterly out of our control. We can't control what goes on at school or at the office. We can't control what other people are going to say. We can't predict changes in the status quo.

We might not be able to control circumstances, but we can control how we react. We can choose to believe the lies and worry relentlessly over a situation, or we can rest in God's truth. We can keep our head high and keep pressing on towards the goal, or we can dwell and stress. The reaction belongs to us. The reaction often reveals a lot about us. The reaction reveals our need for a savior.

I confess: Last week, there were moments where I began to fear and worry. And then I remembered: God has a plan for my future (Jeremiah 29:11). Will worry add one day to my life? Will it solve anything or bring God glory in any way? Absolutely not (Matthew 6:25-34)! I also remember that in my deepest moments of doubt and fear, God always made a way. He always opened a door. He always gave me hope and held me up whenever I was dismayed (Isaiah 41:10). That isn't changing now. I just need to be prudent and keep moving. God will take care of the rest.

I confess: Last week, there were moments when I was bitter, angry, hurt and disappointed. There were moments I wanted to lash out. To hold a grudge. To be bitter and fight back. And then I remembered: There is only one opinion that really matters. Only one person I aim to please: Jesus Christ. He knows my heart. He knows me more than anyone ever will. He died so that I could live again. I don't have to please anybody. He knows my intentions and where my heart is (1 Thessalonians 2:4). So why am I angry? Why am I bitter? What can man do to me (Psalm 118:6)? Jesus forgave me for all the junk in my life, so who am I to reject that same forgiveness to anyone who has wronged me in my own life (Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:32)? Do as Christ commanded: Forgive others (Matthew 6:14). Pray for them (Luke 6:28). Love them (John 15:12). And, so, I shall do the same.

I confess: Last week there were moments where I felt completely and utterly alone. And then I remembered: I am not alone. The Holy Spirit is within me (Ephesians 1:13-14). God placed me here in San Antonio to show me that He was all I ever needed and all I would ever need. That no matter where I am, that this world is not my home; that my real home lies ahead of me. My treasure is not stored up here in the present or in earthly things, but in heaven and in what lies ahead (Matthew 6:19-21). And when I was feeling the loneliest I've ever been, God brought a new group of friends into my life, a new church family, to do life with. They share in my struggles and pray on my behalf. And at the same time, my friends and family back home are doing the same. I am not alone.

So what's it going to be? Life is too short to allow circumstances to knock us down for extended periods of time. There are things to be done. People to serve and love. Faith that needs to be put into action. Are we going to allow circumstances and events determine our attitude and outlook or we going to remember the truth that our God is good and our God is great? With Him, all things are possible. Through Him, we are able.

When our eyes are fixed on the Lord, there is peace. There is joy. There is hope. Even when it seems like things are falling apart, we are reminded that this, too, shall pass. That the pain, loneliness and chaos is all temporary. But our God is eternal. He is our fortress. He is our rock. And if He is for us, then who can possibly be against us?

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