Now that the Christmas season has come and gone (once again), we have to get back to “normal” living, whatever that may mean. What is normal for you may not be for someone else, or the other way around. In fact, what is normal changes for most of us when we go through life. Graduation, marriage, children, new jobs, moving and health changes all contribute to new normals in living. Throw in technology, the economy and fear of our enemies, and you have more changes than many of us want, or want to deal with. Life happens and we must change with it.
How are you dealing with these changes? I can tell you from my experience the last four months that changes, especially abrupt changes, are difficult to deal with. The physical things are difficult enough, but the emotional part may be the toughest. Uncertainty, anxiety, fear and dread of the unknown often wreak havoc on us and those we love the most. It’s inevitable, but there is hope. Let me share some things I found that were helpful to me in the last four months.
1. This first one may not sound all that spiritual, but it is very important: Get up every day and do the things you have to do. Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s not always! Sometimes, the last thing you want to do is to get up and get going. That’s even true when your life is great and everything is going well! But I’ve found that it’s perhaps even more important when things are tough and you’re struggling. Fill out those applications, go to those interviews, pack that house, pay those bills. In fact, start with the things you dislike the most and do those first; get them out of the way. Someone once said, “Eat a live toad first thing every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Don’t take that literally, but you get the point: take care of your own business and things will quickly get better.
2. Surround yourself with people who care about you and your situation, especially those who will pray for you and speak encouraging words to you. My family and I had many people praying for us (I hope they still are). The ministerial association members gathered around me, laid their hands on me and prayed for me. That not only bolstered my spirits, but only God knows how He blessed that one act of encouragement to begin a work in my life. I thank God for them and others who prayed. Some people sent cards (and occasionally money), phone calls, kind words on the street and helped with getting our new home ready to move into. I had offers to rent several houses if I needed one; I was given work to earn a paycheck. All of these acts of kindness, and many others, helped to sustain us through an emotionally difficult time. We are thankful for each one.
3. Trust God to lead you and to do His best work in your life. I can’t begin to explain to any of us why things happen like they do. I don’t pretend to speak for God where He has not spoken for Himself in His Word. But while He doesn’t give us explanations as to the specific things that go on in our lives, His word does tell us some things that are very important. In Psalm 139, we are reminded that He knows everything about us, even our thoughts and motives. He knows everywhere we go, and is there even before we arrive. He has numbered our days, and plans what He wants us to do in them. Jesus Himself said that He would never leave us nor forsake us, and that He would be with us until the end of the ages here on earth, and then we will be with Him in all the ages to come. Perhaps the greatest promise is this: “He will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Can it get any better than that?
What hope do you have today for your situation? If your not a child of the King, Jesus, you have nothing to hope in except your own ability and dumb luck. That’s not much to go on. Trust in Jesus, and you have all the resources of heaven at your disposal. What do you have going for you today?
Rev. Tim Secrist is pastor of the Little Dove Church of Christ near Lenore and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association. He can be reached by email at [email protected]