“Sometimes moments” are part of life. Like when life gets overwhelming because there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it. Or when issues with which you have been struggling for a lifetime jump up and bite you without any warning. Or when it hits you that you’ve been going through the motions of living without any joy. But these “sometimes moments” are not the final word in your life. In fact, they’re never the final word. God’s love in Jesus Christ is. So the next time you are in the midst of a “sometimes moment” that’s beating you down, remember that God loves you so much God sent Jesus just for you!
It’s Thanksgiving week. Like nearly everything else in 2020, it will be different. For some, it’s a tragic week because COVID has taken your loved ones or disrupted lives of people you care about. For almost everyone, it’s a disappointing week because you won’t be able to enjoy all the traditions that are part of your Thanksgiving holiday. This is why it’s especially important to remember to give thanks this year for what you have that matters most: God’s blessings, the people in your life you cherish, and all those on the front lines working to keep you safe and healthy. After all, giving God thanks is always better than complaining about what you think you’re missing.
Let me admit to You what You already know about me. Sometimes I get frustrated with what happens in life. Sometimes righteously angry. Sometimes weary beyond words, especially right now. And sometimes so overwhelmed I fail to live with the courage and hope You plant in my soul.
But even when I am at my lowest, I discover thanks and praise welling up inside me that simply cannot stay quiet. So today I give You praise and thanks because You have created all that is, and love Your creation passionately. Today I give You praise and thanks because You have created me uniquely, and desire for me to become the best me I can become. Today I give You thanks and praise because Your love turns me toward my neighbors to love them as I love You. And today I give You thanks and praise because You do whatever it takes to pursue me until I experience the fullness of Your love and life in Jesus.
May I dwell in this praise and thanks and experience how it opens my heart to Your grace, lifts me out of the valley, fills me with hope, and enables me to experience how I can be more thankful than ever – regardless of what’s going on.
I pray this in the strong name and power of Jesus.
Do you let distress drive you to God – or do you let it drive you away from God? While you know how you want to answer the question, you also know that you let distress drive you away from God far too often. It’s yet another example of the human condition described so well by the Apostle Paul – you don’t do the things you want to do and you do the very things you never want to do. But you don’t need to be perfect before you go to God – you’ve just got to get there. Even if it is with all kinds of questions, in the midst of one of your worst moments or messy. That’s because God’s waiting to embrace and heal you from the inside-out. And once you experience this, you’ll find yourself saying, “That horrible time of distress got me to God. Who crafted me into a person I never would have been otherwise. And I’m more thankful than ever – even in the midst of distress.”
If you are a Christian who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, I pray that your heart hurts deeply for all those COVID-19 is killing, infecting with a virus that will have lifelong medical effects, and putting at risk of financial ruin. If you are a disciple of Jesus, I pray that you will help our nation get beyond the belief so many have that this pandemic is primarily some sort of a political – and not a medical – battle. And if you are longing to live out Jesus’ Great Commandment of loving God and loving neighbor with everything you’ve got, I pray that you will demonstrate through simple acts of wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands just how much you’re trying to live the Jesus’ way. Lord, in Your mercy, please keep loving us as we struggle to love each other.
Three related questions can help you figure out how to navigate today. What do you want? What do you actually need? What is God already giving you? Sometimes, I get so fixated on what I want, that I fail to focus on what I actually need. When I take the time to honestly compare the two, however, it changes my perspective so much that what I want almost always fades in importance. But that’s nothing compared to what happens when I take time to listen to God through ears of faith, because that’s when I discover God’s already giving me what I actually need and what my soul truly longs for. And that frees me to live the Jesus’ way regardless of what’s going on in my life.