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Many times I wonder why God allows trouble to come into my life. Most of the time, that answer is impossible to know. It could be just the fact that this world is broken and bad, troubling things happen constantly. It could be that there’s something in my life that God doesn’t want and He’s allowing circumstances to reveal that truth to me. In either case, though, no matter where the trouble came from or why, there’s something I can learn from it.

I think the best example I can think of is my job situation for the last ten years. My first job was at my town library, and I loved it. And that carried on into college, where I worked at the Campus Library at Pensacola Christian College and (apparently) did well enough to merit a promotion to the Circulation Desk when I was halfway through my freshmen year (everyone else working at the desk was either a junior or a senior). After I came home and began attending Wichita State, I worked at the WSU Libraries, first as an assistant in the Dean’s Office and second (after I graduated) as a staff person at the Circulation Desk.

I enjoyed my work very much (and I simply adored the people I worked with), but it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to write. And there were so many times I felt like I was helplessly spinning my wheels, doing nothing but going around in circles and never actually accomplishing anything. It was depressing and frustrating. And I was upset with myself because it felt like all my life I had worked to be able to get jobs that paid the bills but sapped all my energy from my writing.

Please don’t misunderstand me, though. I loved where I worked, and I loved the people where I worked even more, no matter if it were Haven, PCC or WSU. (There was an in-between time where I worked as a customer service rep for a tax accountant software company and calmed angry attorneys down via telephone while they cussed me out. That job I hated. But I met a really awesome lady there who I’m still friends with to this day!)

Then, God opened the door (wide open) for me to leave the world of libraries and move on to the job I have now. And, even though I struggle with learning how to deal with the amount of stress I have now, I love my job.

But I can tell you without any hesitation that if I had tried for this job when I was fresh out of college, I wouldn’t have gotten it. I didn’t have the people skills. I didn’t have the office skills. And, honestly, I didn’t have the writing skills. Even though my job(s) working at libraries didn’t utilize my writing skills, I worked on them on my own in the background. For five years, I worked jobs that had little to do with my degree, and then I got a job that uses all of it . . . but I couldn’t have gotten the job if I hadn’t had all the experience I’d gained at my other jobs.

Now . . . . that’s a very long story to use as an example of what I learned through that whole situation, but it’s a true story. At the moments where I felt discouraged and frustrated, I should have remembered that God uses every circumstance in our life to teach us something, to get us ready for what’s coming, to prepare us for the road that’s ahead. Through all that, I learned that God has used every occurence in my life for the last ten years to prepare me for the job I have right now. And I can only assume that the stress that I’m encountering in my job right now is training for whatever is next for me in God’s plan for my life.

I thought of all this when I read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 this morning.

 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

God knows what He’s doing. He never makes mistakes. He always keeps His promises. So we can trust Him. And when He tells us something is for our own good, we can believe that it really is, even if it feels like it’s not fair.

That’s comfort.

Comfort is knowing that even if a circumstance or situation looks impossible God is able to work everything out perfectly. Comfort is not worrying at all, whether it’s about things we can control or things we can’t. It means letting go of what troubles us and letting God put the pieces back together.

When everything looks like it’s falling apart, take comfort from God because He already knows how to fix what’s broken.

And then, when you realize that God really does know what’s going on, use what you learned. Don’t just sit on truth like it’s something nobody needs to hear. Whatever God taught you through the experiences He allowed to take place in your life is something that everyone needs to know. That’s the other thing that I’ve learned. God teaches us lessons through life that apply to everyone we know.

I can’t tell you how many times the story of my “God-job” has encouraged other people. It makes God’s hand in my life very clear, and that’s something that everyone needs to know. And I can’t tell you how many times I have been encouraged about how God took care of someone I love, and even if their circumstances are completely different than mine, God still provided for them the same way He’s provided for me.

We live in a troubled world. Our world is broken, shattered to pieces by our own hands. Our relationships are wrecked. Our governments are hanging by a thread. Unemployment is higher than the sky. And people are sad, discouraged, and lonely.

Hey, Christians! Take comfort from God. He wants to comfort us. He doesn’t want us to worry. He doesn’t want us to be afraid. He’s got us covered. He’s going to work everything out, and when He’s done, His solution will exceed our expectations. So take comfort from that . . . . and share the love. Let the rest of the world know how God comforted you in your time of need. And maybe when the world sees that you really do need God and that He’s never let you down, they’ll understand that they need Him too.

“Good” Christians need God too

Are there any “good” Christians out there? Would you agree that when you’re a “good” Christian and you follow the rules generally and try your best to read your Bible every morning that sometimes it’s easy to forget that you don’t have it all together?

Maybe it’s just me, but I forget sometimes. That’s why I appreciate verses like Psalm 139:23-34.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
      test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
      and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

When we’re doing what we think is right or living the way we think we’re supposed to, it’s a good thing to ask God to search our hearts to make sure that what we’re seeking is what He really desires for us.

I don’t know about anyone else, but my heart is a scary thing. It doesn’t always know what it wants. It rarely makes a decision and usually just leads me in circles. And if it ever does make up its mind about something, it usually isn’t something that God would have me do.

I know I’ve been struggling with a lot of choices and decisions recently, and my heart would have me drop everything and do what I want to do. But I don’t think that’s what God wants.

So I need God to look at my life, to look at my heart, and I need Him to tell me what I should do. I think I already have an answer, but I don’t want it to be my answer. I need it to be His. I want Him to look at me and tell me what needs to change in my life.

I get so used to being a “good” Christian that sometimes I forget that I’m not perfect. I mean, it’s not that I forget it. I know I’m not perfect, but it’s easy to fall back on my own wisdom or even my own interpretation of Scripture as truth. And just because I interpret Scripture some way doesn’t make it truth. Doesn’t even make it right. I need God to show me what is right and how to live and how to make decisions. I need Him to show me the areas of my life that need to change or disappear because I’m blind to them.

I guess the bottom line this morning is that I need God. I need to learn to be humble about things like this. To ask Him to look into who I am and be willing to change what He tells me to change. Because if I can do that, He’ll take me down the path He wants me on. And whatever He wants out of my life isn’t good for me anyway.

I need Him more than anything else in my life. With Him, my life make sense. It has purpose. Even when everything feels like it’s falling apart, I know it really isn’t because I have Him.