A cold front is blowing in, clouds are gathering and there is an instinctive knowing that we are getting ready for a long and colder than normal winter. Who knows, it may also be wetter than normal too! Sometimes my life is a lot like weather, constantly changing all around me and I sometimes feel like I am just spinning around trying to keep up. In those times, I feel like I must look like Cinnamon, my Pom, spinning in circles chasing her tail as if there is some great prize or treat is waiting when she catches it! …Or as if catching it will make everything suddenly better. There’s not, she is just caught up in a crazy cycle reacting to something that has either excited her or upset her. Maybe it is the same for us at times. You know every once in a while we have one of ‘those’ days. Sometimes they stretch into one of ‘those’ weeks, months, seasons, or years. On the one hand, many times we have little or no control over our outside extenuating circumstances; but we always have a say in how we respond to them. We always have a choice in whether we thoughtlessly react and start spinning circles; withdraw and run away fast; or with patience, thought and calmness respond. Our choice can make all the difference in our outcome.
I have also noticed it is not the occasional unexpected hard blow that sends me into the ‘spin cycle’. No sir! I know where to run when those things enter upon the scene. I am wise enough to know that I am not able handle them on my own and run swiftly and directly into the arms of my merciful and loving Heavenly Father seeking His guidance, protection and comfort. I also seek out people of like faith; mentors, friends, family who encourage and advise me. Nope, it usually not the big things that throw me for a loop. It is the little things…one here, another there; it isn’t too bad. Then sometimes little things just keep coming one right after another; after another; until they wear you down. That’s when if I’m not careful and if I am overextended, not getting proper rest and nutrition; the spin begins!
- Little things are magnified
- Simple requests seem like demands
- What would normally be a joy to do become drudgery
- Before long you wonder if the little struggles are the new normal, they’re not!
I imagine early Christians may have felt this way at times. In the early years, things were going pretty well. They were growing by leaps and bounds, living together in unity and sharing all things. Rulers and governments change; persecution comes to them and they are forced to scatter in every direction; exercising great faith and depending on God’s provision and protection. The good news-Christianity spread far and wide. The reality-it was at great cost to many people. Families separated, friends separated and many lives lost. The blessing-they grew in faith, dependence on God, and obedience. The result-their lives became a testimony to person after person; generation after generation. Many have come to faith because of their faithfulness.
Today, I read the following passage and it greatly touched me. I am sure I’ve read it before, probably many times. Today I read it in The Message…slowly…
I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours! (1 Peter 1:1-2 MSG)
(Underlining and italics added for emphasis)
Many letters like this one written by Peter were circulated among the scattered churches. I love how he points out to them that God in His sovereignty sees each of them, watches over them. They are not forgotten! Not even one has He forgotten! Not one is missing! He reminds them that through their faith in Jesus they have been given the Holy Spirit who helps them remain obedient even in perilous times and then blesses them with these words, “may everything good from God be yours!”
Since the time of the fall of mankind in the garden when Adam and Eve disobeyed, our world has been broken. Man gave over his dominion and authority. Through the life of His Son Jesus, His obedience, sinless life and His death and resurrection the way back to God was completed. He desires a relationship with everyone. He sees our every struggle, pain, sorrow. His desire is for our good!
For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NET)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and runs away. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. (John 10:10-12 NET)
“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?…Matthew 18:11-12
God is for us and desires what is best for us, still we live in a broken world where trials, pain, loss and troubles exist. May we find peace in knowing when they take their toll in our lives, whether they be large or small; individual or clustered together; He sees! We are not missing or forgotten. God the Father has His eye on each of us. He has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep us obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus.
May everything good from God be yours! (1 Peter 1:1-2 MSG)
His grace and peace to you, in the name of Jesus!