“Life is difficult …”
Some time ago a popular psychiatrist began his latest and greatest book with those three words! It was one of the nationwide bestsellers for the next four years.
Life IS difficult, isn’t it? But the real question isn’t the difficulty of life, but rather how can we get a handle on it? How are we supposed to cope with those difficult situations and relationships that life seems to hand us on a silver platter?
In the book to which I just referred, the author suggests that what people really need in order to understand and handle the trials of life is to “reach a HIGHER level of SELF-understanding!”
I disagree. Respectfully, I would like to suggest that what people REALLY need in order to get a handle on life, especially when it seems so hard and hurts so much, is a DEEPER level of GOD-understanding. In the words of the popular song writer: “People Need The Lord!” I need the Lord. You need the Lord! We all need the Lord!
You see, the truth of the matter is: Life IS difficult. There is nothing we can do about that! And because it is, the very best “therapy” for each difficulty is to take a good long look at the Lord God, as He is revealed to us in and through the “Word” of God – both living (that’s Jesus!) and written (that’s the Bible!)
The Bible even says: “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
And when He came, it was his own cousin John who said: “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) In other words take a good long LOOK at Him! He is THE Son of God! The Savior of man. He is the ONLY sin-bearer and THE BEST care-giver this world will ever know!
That is why we sing
O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a LOOK at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
LOOK full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
One of the wisest men to ever live on earth was King Solomon. When he became king, one of the first things he did was to pray.
In his prayer, he did not ask God to expand his kingdom. He did not ask God to make him a popular king with his people. He did not ask God to give him world-wide influence. He asked God simply for wisdom, for skill in living. He knew life would be difficult for him.
He knew that he would never see the simple decisions – those would and could be handled by people in positions of lesser authority and responsibility. He needed wisdom because as king all he would ever see were the difficult cases. God, when he heard Solomon’s prayer, promised to give him the wisdom he asked for, but he also promised him all the other thigs he did not ask for!
Solomon took those things to heart – at least for a while – and at a later time penned much of what we now know as the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. There he gives us the simple formula for dealing with life when it is difficult. He says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
My friends, it is that simple! “Trust in the Lord” – that means that whenever you and I are faced with difficulties we do not know how to handle, we should go to Him – yes, in prayer, and in His Word, the Bible. Prayer is how we communicate with Him. His Word, the Bible, is how He communicates with us!
Also, observe this: God through Solomon does not tell us not to USE our own understanding. He tells us not to LEAN ON our own understanding. What that says to me is that we should be attempting to understand how our difficult life could be simpler, but then before we act on our understanding, we should take that situation and our solutions to the Lord in prayer, looking to His Word for the answers. All of that before making the final decision – by faith believing that he will make his paths straight!
So LOOK to Him with the eyes of faith. Sure, LIFE IS DIFFICULT! But when you LOOK to Him, what you will see is One who is more than ADEQUATE for all those times when life seems so…so…IMPOSSIBLE! And remember, He has promised that He would always be PRESENT with us, and that His grace would always be SUFFICIENT for us!
Yes, life IS difficult. But don’t forget that “It WILL be worth it all When we SEE Jesus…” What we see then is what we will get! And what we will get is one who is not only ADEQUATE, but also INFINITE! Life IS difficult But He is INFINITE!
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Times-Gazette. He is also the former Pastor of Port William UMC.