By The Rev. Bob Holland
Since before the world was made God has known you and loved you. He has never taken His eyes away or ignored you. If you were to write down all the blessings and victories He has given to you, they would prove He has called you, has been guiding you, and has many wonderful things planned for your future. Do you believe this today? Is your life heading in a direction that you are excited about, or are you downcast?
At this time of year, it’s common for many people to be filled with a mixture of emotions. Some are dealing with anxiety, while others are walking through a time of sadness and loneliness. Maybe something negative happened this year and you have not recovered from it. Maybe you have experienced a terrible loss and are in agony while trying to appear that everything is alright. Along with 2022 coming to a close, we have the new year just a couple of weeks away and fear of the unknown can be a little stressful.
Has disappointment in the past, caused you to not be as confident or optimistic as you once were? Of course, we all have times in our lives when we are upset and feel that nothing is going right. Don’t worry, you are perfectly normal. Life is a series of ups and downs and no matter how jolly of a personality you may have, there will be seasons when we search deep within ourselves to see if we are being attacked or maybe we need to forgive ourselves. Whatever the case, it’s easy to wallow in our sorrows, but when we turn our attention away from ourselves and focus on loving God and those around us, the dark clouds begin lifting, and the joy and brightness of God’s presence will fill our hearts.
I want to share God’s word with you from Psalm 42:5 and repeated again in verse 11, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” This is a passage from David and if you study his relationship with God, you know he had his share of sorrows, but he also learned how to encourage himself. He wrote this when his son Absalom committed treason but even through something as devastating as this he expresses that hope becomes even more empowered when everything seems hopeless. He examines his own heart and comes to the understanding there are times we will not comprehend why we are going through trials, but we are to obey and glorify God while we are waiting for our answer.
Instead of going to bed and covering our heads, let us look beyond our pity party and focus our eyes on the goodness of the Lord and how much He has done for us. Sometimes we are so absorbed with what we are going through, we forget all the things He has helped us with and saved us from. I had two situations today that could have been tragic, but God intervened in them both. I was driving on the bypass and was getting ready to change lanes when at the last second I saw a car beside me out of the corner of my eye. If I had turned into that car, the outcome would not have been good, to say the least. My wife kept talking and was never aware of the situation as I breathed a sigh of relief. The second situation involved me being on a ladder this afternoon on the front porch. I thought I was on the bottom step but I was actually on the step above and fell onto the concrete and into the storm door. I broke the door and have a few bruises, but miraculously I was not seriously injured.
With two near misses on the same day, I’ve been humbly counting my blessings. I know it’s easy at times to feel sorry for ourselves, but instead of feeling cast down, may we consider where we would be without God’s constant mercy and compassion. Hope is a small word like love and joy, but it contains the power of the human soul to trust God and live every moment as if His promises are going to be fulfilled in our lives. Often we are troubled because we are focused more on what we interpret as a disappointment than on praising God for providing another opportunity to appreciate His goodness.
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