Facing Life’s Challenges

We encounter change in our world every day. We are changing, as well. Amidst so much shifting, so much change, we often find ourselves wearily groping for something solid to hold on to, some solid place upon which we can stand. As I reflect on this reality, three passages immediately come to mind.

The first has to do with the many daily choices we make which result in changes in our life’s direction. The words of Jesus provide great insight. At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “24Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25the rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27).

The second relates to the challenges we face in life which send us reeling and leave us wondering how we will make it through dark days which lie ahead. We sometimes feel like we are being forced to make decisions “in the blind”. We really don’t know what lies ahead, but we must choose which path to take. At times like these I take refuge in the words of confidence and conviction expressed by the prophet David. In Psalm 23 he stated, “1The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

The third passage speaks to the times in which our strength is weak and our spirits are flagging. At times such as this God speaks to our hearts through the conviction of the prophet Isaiah, which are expressed as follows: “28Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

© Bill Williams

August 2, 2006

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Christian Living, Christianity, HOPE, Life. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Facing Life’s Challenges

  1. Greg England says:

    Bill: Your third point reminded me of a fine little book I read while taking a class at Harding Grad School on human suffering. Dr. John Claypool wrote his book, “Tracks of a Fellow Struggler” to chronicle the journey through the cancer, remission, cancer, death of his daughter. Chapter two deals with the Isaiah passage where Claypool writes, “Here is the definite promise of divine help to men, but it is important to notice that such help is described in three different forms. Not all of them ought to be expected in any one situation.” (p.52)
    He goes on to describe some days we soar as eagles. Other days we run without growing weary. But there are those days when we do well simply to crawl and not grow faint. With respect to the third observation, he writes, “Now I am sure that to those looking for the spectacular this may sound insignificant indeed. Who wants to be slowed to a walk, to creep along inch by inch, just barely above the threshold of consciousness and not fainting? That may not sound like much of a religious experience, but believe me, in the kind of darkness where I have been, it is the only form of the promise that fits the situation.” (p.55)
    As I’ve said, your post today reminded me of Claypool’s take on the Isaiah passage. His book is short – only four chapters, 104 pages – but one of the best I’ve read (and I’ve read many on the subject of grief as I have been a grief counselor in the past) and well worth the read.

  2. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Greg. I’ll have to get a copy of Claypool’s book. It sounds like an excellent resource -bill

  3. ruminatingpilgrim says:

    The Psalm 23 passage is always so encouraging for me. It’s not just a polyanna call to take comfort, but it’s clear that we can take heart because God is actively at work to lead and protect and guide you.

  4. ksreyes says:

    How beautiful!!!! And just the thing I needed to read – right at this moment. Be assured I will be back to read through your comforting words again and again…..

    Peace+
    kreyes

  5. Tracy says:

    Thanks, Bill. Only God’s word and the presenceof His Spirit bring comfort right now.

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