July 14, 2021
“…but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7) “Has not man a hard service on earth, and are not his days like the days of a hired hand?” (Job 7:1) “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1) We might be tempted to dismiss this realistic perspective on life since it comes from Job, who was in the midst of a long and grievous trial, however, the wisest and ridiculously wealthy Solomon said something similar. "What has man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation.” (Ecclesiastes 2:22-23a)
Life on this side of Eden is marked by a lot of hardship and difficulty. As followers of Christ, we have the added challenge of facing the headwinds of a culture that only adds to our awareness of things not being as they could be or should be. I need to be reminded that normal life now is hard. As my friend, Ray, told me, “This is part of it.” Every day I need to prepare my heart for leaning upon the everlasting arms for fresh grace and then walking uphill. Life is hard. Difficulties are the norm. Challenges are constant. We go from trial to trial and yet, this is not the entire story, is it? So, on the one hand, I need this lens in order to have a right expectation but, on the other, I also need to remember that I do not need to live under this weight, nor be owned by it.
There are some weapons for joy that we can wield. One of them is a thank-you list. Want to help your heart sing in the midst of today’s troubles? Write out and then tell God what you are thankful for. Here is my list.
I am thankful for:
- A church family that loves God, his Word and his gospel
- Joyful, faithful volunteers who are serving in VBS this week
- Kids, kids, kids and more kids who are hearing the gospel at VBS
- Elders who met together Monday night to pray and care for our church
- A Missions Team that is helping us carry out our responsibility to spread the gospel by helping to plant healthy churches around the world
- A Finance Team that so capably oversees so many necessary details
- Volunteers who serve the overlooked in our Food Pantry ministry
- Adult Bible Fellowship Teachers and leaders who help provide a fabric of instruction and connection
- Small Group Leaders and other members who serve so lovingly and privately
- My wife who loves Jesus
- My kids who love Jesus
- My grandkids who are learning to love Jesus
- My mom (who wants to be with Jesus) and dad (who is with Jesus) who taught me to love Jesus
- A staff that cares so well for one another
- Church-planters and brothers who are revitalizing churches who are seeking to spread the gospel through them
- The brothers and sisters who cut the grass, trim the bushes and who help make the grounds look like the Garden of Eden (without the serpent).
Yes, our days are born to trouble, but that is not the entire story and that is certainly not the rest of the story.
Sunday’s Text: 2 Peter 3:14-18