Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where the rubber meets the road...

I tend to be a legalistic person, rule-follower, typical first-born child. However, as I have gotten older and experienced life in various ways, my legalistic nature has softened around the edges somewhat. I have learned that life is hard and the older we get, the more hardships we experience. I never imagined that by the time I was 30, I would be able to name several personal friends whose marriage would end in divorce. As life gets in our way, it begins to chip away at our shell, sometimes leaving deep wounds that scar us heavily. 

Over the past few years, I have prayed incessantly for God to make me more compassionate. I don't tend to be naturally compassionate and it has truly become my heart's desire to be able to feel compassion for others and to view situations through eyes not just governed by rules, but enveloped with compassion as well. I have to admit that this Thanksgiving, for the first time, in the middle of my meal (which was in abundance, let me tell you), I felt a twinge of guilt...guilt because there I was eating a feast when others in our world had nothing for their Thanksgiving meal. I have noticed recently the edges of my heart being chipped away, allowing compassion to enter in. Thank you, Lord.

Disappointment is a way of life and I think it tends to be more so for us A-type personalities who have such high expectations, not just for ourselves, but for the world around us. I tend to naturally expect people to "do the right thing" and that's just simply not always the case, is it? In my efforts to see others through the film of compassion, I have become much more understanding in how people become affected by life's disappointments and injuries and how these lead to not always doing the right thing. However, my biggest struggle is in these times how many people, who call themselves Christians, turn away from God, abandoning what they once claimed to stand for. It's overwhelming to me how many Christians believe they "deserve" so much more than what life is offering them.

But, here is where I push the pause button and ask...isn't this where the rubber meets the road? Isn't this what faith is all about? Is this life and it's offerings all we are interested in? What about the eternity with our Heavenly Father we've been striving for? Just like God said to Job, who are we to expect more than we deserve? Where were we when God was forming the heavens and the earth, creating a world for us to live in? Who are we to expect to have a smooth journey? It was never promised to us. However, God's presence and His love were promised to us. We were promised to not have to go this life alone. No matter what situation we're facing, God is there. It's our choice when the rubber meets the road to reach out to Him, to hold on to Him through the fire, and to praise Him for refining us through all encounters life hurls.

Think back to your childhood when you had fire drills or disaster drills at school. What was the purpose of these drills...to know what to do if the real thing happened. Isn't faith a little bit like these drills? We build our faith to carry us through the hard times, to know that no matter what life throws us, it will pass and life will change, but God will not. He is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

If life is somewhat of a tornado right now and the ground doesn't feel very firm, there is One who will carry you through it and keep you by His side. Now is the time to grab onto Him.

I encourage you to read Psalm 91. It was written for you.

 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; 
       I will be with him in trouble, 
       I will deliver him and honor him.

Psalm 91:15

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