"I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world."
John 16:33
I don't know what it is within us that makes us think that life will be easy. Oh sure on the surface we will acknowledge that it isn't easy and we will run into our struggles. But somewhere behind it all we can so easily think that life will go just as we planned it to. All of our little schemes and well-laid plans can fall apart at the slightest thing, and still we have no control over it. Who's to stop a car from running a red light or cancer falling on the one we thought would be with us the rest of our life? But what can we do? Not bother seeking happiness? Pursue gingerly while we live in fear of all the many ways it could all suddenly change? So still we plan.
And we'll even work that knowledge into our plans a little. A savings account. A life insurance policy to really take care of those who would miss us. A little security in an anarchy of chaos. Chances are you'll make it awhile. Perhaps some will be lucky enough to go long enough into life to really get some enjoyment out of it before it begins to crumble by the water in the seams. You will have tribulation.
So why do we run? Why do we just pursue happiness like we can keep it? Are those few moments, those few years enough to satisfy our life while later we will cope with the pain through distraction, trying to push off the depression, despair, and anger? Or will we have the peace to pull us through? Will our roots go down deep enough or our anchor of hope be heavy enough? How the hell do we take hold of our hearts?
One of the observations I feel like I've made a lot over the past year or so is how surprised I am that people do not really expect to face opposition. If something doesn't work out it is just that "door being closed" by the Lord. Is it really now? Or are we just forgetting that any truly good work will be resisted? In fact it is probably more often the truth that the greater the resistance the more important the work is. Things drift away or are abandoned because we aren't ready to fight, or we would just rather do something a little easier.
The funny thing is that I somehow completely miss that about my own life too. I have always been a fighter--or at least I like to think that about myself. But then that's not really the answer is it? So much of the opposition will not be anything you can really fight against, and trying to do so will only leave you fighting yourself or God. Giving up is always much harder for me to do, but then surrender is perhaps often more important than fighting--in the way of Jesus. Against such what can opposition truly do?
Jesus says it twice in Matthew, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it," but i suppose that means we truly have to lose it for his sake and not just to get a life that is more rich. I miss that part sometimes.
But how do you take heart? Especially when the world seems anything but overcome. What is there to take hold in? My personal momentary transitory joys? No no no. In finding hope again. Hope that is only worth it if it is unseen, in the darkness, fighting away against resistance. Fighting that looks a lot more like laying down. Maybe. That sounds kind of nice. That I can do. Sure maybe there's a bit more than that, but we'll start there for now.

1 comment:

  1. Hey brother... I like this post. How the hell do we take hold of our hearts?!

    I hear people saying God has a plan a lot these days... I know that... I am a Calvinist. :)

    But how do you take heart in that... especially when resistance is so overwhelming. I feel like telling God, I know what I need... just let me take over a bit.

    He likes his sovereignty and he doesn't give it up. Maybe that is okay. It all comes back to letting it go... laying it down... living out my confidence in God. I just happen to suck at that more than anything else.

    Sorry for the jumble of thoughts... I like the post.