Are you ready for something really shocking? My life isn’t all about me after all! Yes! You read that right!
Guess what else? Your life isn’t all about you, either.
I’ve had this little reminder handed to me up close and personal over the past couple of weeks as I sat and shared life with some people who are dealing with some pretty hefty issues.
I could listen with empathy because I’VE BEEN THERE! I know what some of that stuff feels like and, truthfully, sometimes it just stinks. There’s no other way to put it. Sometimes God chooses to do things in ways that we would never choose for ourselves. When that happens we actually do get a choice about part of it. We get to choose our response. We can choose to learn or we can choose to leave.
Now, don’t get me wrong…once you belong to God, you can’t ever get away from Him, but you can definitely choose to leave the situation you find yourself in and just run away. The problem with that is that God’s still going to be right there and since He’s still determined to teach you the things that will make you more like His Son, chances are pretty good that you’ll just find yourself in a similar situation wherever you land. Not sure I’m right about that? Think: Jonah and a very big fish. (grin) You can’t ever outrun God; so really, if you run, you’re just choosing to delay the lesson. That, too, is a choice.
Our other choice is that we can choose to learn. Sometimes that means taking action. Sometimes that means just sitting still until we’re certain that God is moving us. Sometimes it means we just need to listen to others who have been there before us and come out on the other side…or at least are a little further along in dealing with it all.
Personally, I’m one of those who usually learns by doing things myself… the hard way. That means listening isn’t generally my strong suit, but that doesn’t mean I’m not called to do just that occasionally. When I’m smart enough to do things His way, I have found that there really was a purpose behind it all. Sometimes, however, we may not see the purpose for a long, long time.
That’s just one of the things I realized during those conversations with my friends. I realized that sometimes we may go through things just so we’ll understand what it is like when others go through them. People need to have a safe place to be real. They need an open heart and a person on the other end who can help them realize that (a) they’re not crazy–it really is that hard and (b) they’re not alone. They also need to know that it is possible to get to the other side of an issue and even when that’s not possible…or at least takes a very long time…it is possible to survive it, anyway.
I realized something else this week, as well. I know that I went through those hard situations that my friends now face for more than one reason, but if being able to share our common bond and let them know they aren’t alone was the only reason for my own difficulty, then it would still be worth it. God loves us all enough to provide the what and the who we need as we need them. It is always worth it to be used by Him.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a litle while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
Get ready to put your hard lessons to use for the Kingdom! It’s time to be Jesus with skin on for someone around you today! Someone out there needs what you already know…and they need to know WHO you know, as well.