I don't know if I'm an optimist, pessimist, realist, or just an "--ist". I do know that I attempt to live by faith in God. I know that I attempt to follow Jesus (and like the original 12, bumbling along the way). I know that through the Spirit who lives in me, I am experiencing the very life of Jesus.
Having said all that, life can still be very difficult. Like you, I face some very discouraging situations at times. Like you, I disappoint myself--and God at other times. Like you, I feel disheartened now and then. In fact, I sometimes find life to be extremely difficult.
There was a time when I think I was overly dependent on needing things in my life to go just right. I would look at the future and think about a day when things might eventually all come together. "Surely, things will eventually work out. Surely there will be a time when marriage will be good, kids will be good, bills will be paid, and I will be in just the right church." As I look back, I lived with that illusion far longer than I would like to admit.
What I have learned is so freeing. I have learned I don't have to wait for everything to work out perfectly. It may never.
I have learned the following:
- When I am discouraged, the One with courage is near and faithful to be present.
- When I am overwhelmed, the One who is mighty is calm and in complete control.
- When I am disappointed in myself or in other people, the One who is always good, all of the time, is merciful.
- When I am frustrated by the stubbornness or the manipulative actions of another, the One who is able continues on with his work in this world.
- When I am defeated, wondering why I should even try, the One whose work extends far beyond any boundaries or borders, accomplishes his purposes.
So--I get up this morning and begin another day. I am in relationship with my wife, my children, and my friends. I work with a church--a community of believers--in the city where I live. If this is a typical day or week, I will need to read again the five truths about God that I just mentioned. (I really do believe these truths. Yet, I often need the reasurance of God's Word).
It does no good to deny the way things are. Neither does it do any good to forget the God who is right in the middle of our lives.