“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]” Jn 16:33, AMP
Life is hard. Let me say that again for the people in the back. Life. Is. Hard. The difficulty is not constant, and through our relationship with Christ, it is not unbearable, but make no mistake: life is hard. Bills have to be paid. Sickness comes. Depression is real. Death happens. If we live long enough, chances are that we will face a situation (situations, plural) that brings us, both figuratively and literally, to our knees. Sometimes our current situations feel like we are neck-deep in the rancid waters of despair with a weight attached to our ankle pulling us under. Life is hard. Cheery thoughts, right? Keep reading, because the good news is this: There is hope!
Now, before we dive deep into hope, let me debunk a few myths. The opinion exists that a relationship with Christ paired with an unshakable faith will ensure a life that is prosperous, enlightened, and free from pain. Sorry… that’s not the way this works. God is not a genie to be summoned from a Bible-shaped bottle to grant every wish and move every obstacle. His primary concern is not that we are happy in every moment, but that in every moment we are growing, changing, from glory to glory, until WHAT is on the outside more clearly reflects WHO, as believers, is living on the inside. The path is narrow and unsteady, but hand-in-hand with Christ, it is not only manageable, it is joyful! If… If we learn to altar the outcome.
No, I didn’t misspell that (spelling police, I’m talking to you!). I meant that exactly the way that I wrote it. Too often, we make every effort, in and of ourselves, to “alter” the outcome, and often times, we only make the mess surrounding us worse. But when we “altar” the outcome, suddenly we can see beyond our circumstance and often catch a glimpse of the direction that God is moving; however, to do that, we have to remember the altar. Let me explain.
The storms are coming, and just because we pray for God to calm the storm, it doesn’t mean that he will. See, sometimes the lesson is IN the storm. Sometimes growth happens in the pit, dreams are born in the furnace, and identity is revealed while facing the giants in our life. What we cannot, MUST NOT, lose sight of is the power of the altar: the strength that comes from that place in our lives of worship and reverence and praise. When we are willing to bring our weakness to God and admit, “I’m hurting. I don’t understand it. I can’t see it. But if you’ll go with me, I will walk through it,” then we open the door for God to do incredible things in our lives. When we recognize that the end goal is a stronger faith, a closer walk, and a deeper relationship with him, then the struggle becomes an incredible opportunity to change our lives for the better.
Try it. The next time you’re faced with a difficult situation, the next time that life seems unbearable, and you’re trapped inside the vicious cycle of life, don’t try to “alter” the outcome – “altar” the outcome. Pray, praise, and walk your way through, and watch what God will do, always and only for your good!
About the Seeking Scripture Team: We are a group of believers from all walks of the faith, saved by grace alone through faith in our Messiah. While we are of one accord in many things, we are all works in progress and lifelong learners. Therefore the opinions of one may not always represent the opinions of all.
Liar. Manipulator. Thief. Addict. Matt racked up several titles during the first 2o-something years of his life. All of that was erased the moment that he met his Messiah in the floor of his grandmother's living room. Now, his titles have changed. He is a father, a teacher, a counselor, and a school principal, but the title he most prizes is the one the that required the least amount of work: Redeemed. Matt lives in rural North Alabama with his wife and two daughters. He is currently the principal at West Morgan Middle School and spends his days trying to make a difference in the lives of each of his students. New to Seeking Scripture, having only joined in January 2022, Matt firmly believes in and supports the mission of the fellowship: "to help people read the whole Bible for themselves with no bias for or against any particular denomination or sect of believers.
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