It doesn’t matter how you start. It matters how you finish. You may be sensing God turning the heat up on things in your life He wants to purify you from. Like David, you can say the same prayer and allow the flux of His get rid of toxic thoughts and bad behavior. “Search me, O God, and know my heart… Point out anything in me that offends you…”
“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” How true was that statement in 1861 when Thomas Moore wrote them, and how true it is now 160 years later. Since Moore penned those words, there has been two world wars (with numerous intermittent regional wars in between), epidemics and pandemics, economic recessions and depressions, and countless environmental disasters.
When we recognize that God’s grace is freely given to all that will accept it irrelevant of their status, seniority or standards, we can choose to be grateful for what God is doing in the lives of others instead of comparing it with what we have. When it comes time to receive the wage of eternal life, we can rejoice that God’s kindness surrounds those who have served him for decades and those who have served him for one year. Both receive the gift of eternal life. And it is that celebration of the grace of God in other’s lives that I believe can unlock the things that you are believing for and break you free from the trap of comparison.
You may be in a place where you feel like you are in captivity to a career that is going nowhere, in bondage to a toxic relationship or stuck in a never-ending cycle of depression, fear and anxiety. But just as God had a plan for His people in bondage in Babylon, He has a plan for you. His plan is not to harm you but to prosper you and give you an expected end. You may be asking, “how do I discover that plan?” The answer is found in serving others.
In Ron Howard’s 1995 Academy Award winning movie Apollo 13, famed NASA flight director Gene Kranz has the iconic line, “Failure is not an option.” This line is quoted in other movies and books, its blasted in sports arenas hyping up their fans before a game and its invoked in countless speeches. Yet for how powerful the quote is, for many, failure is all too real. Whether we look at history, our own experiences, and even the Bible, disappointment is something we will have to walk through.
From the time we were little, many of us dreamt of being firefighters, astronauts, doctors, soldiers… All occupations that take courage. And though we may not always maintain the same passion for that particular occupation as we grow older, something in all of us still longs to do something courageous with our lives. Yet so often, when the moment comes to make a decision or to step out in courage, we can find that we don’t have the capacity or ability to do so. The desire may be there, but often when the moment comes, we feel like we are not ready, and we can easily shy away from the moment.
very great man and woman of God that we read about in the Bible has been confronted with the question of whether they are affecting culture or if the culture around them is affecting them. And in that question, a decision arises: Will you set a new trend, or simply follow along with society and what the culture of the day dictates?
Are you in need of breakthrough? Perhaps you have been on the same level at work for many years and though you know can do more, you are unable to see a path forward. Maybe your marriage has been trending downward and you see no light at the end of the tunnel. Or you are stuck in a never-ending cycle of debt and financial shortage and don’t see a way out.
When we talk about addictions, most people will look at it from a negative standpoint. But what if you could be addicted to something positive? In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes a certain group of people who had an addiction. But it was not to alcohol, drugs or gambling that they were addicted to. Their addiction was giving: “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to nthe ministry of the saints,)” (1 Corinthians 16:15).