"Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner." 1 Peter 4:12-13
I have an appointment every Tuesday morning, to meet with some friends and pastors to pray.
Yesterday, we had a visitor come by to pray with us. He had prayed with us at times before, so I wasn't really surprised to find him next to me when I heard him approach. When we finished praying I asked him how things were going for him (he's homeless by the way).
He shared how he was planning to visit another church in Chestertown to arrange for temporary housing as he works to get into a alcohol treatment center. He went on to share how living on the street was getting hard and our community's only shelter doesn't open until January. He shared that he needs warm clothes but doesn't have any place dry to store them. He began telling us of people who were helping him make the necessary contacts, but without a telephone he was left to keeping up with several slips of paper, all tattered and worn from repeatedly filing them away in his pockets.
We went on to explain how he felt God leading him to get his life back together, but felt overwhelmed with keeping his plan on track. Fighting years of alcoholism is hard enough, but combined with required medications for mental health disorders really set the hill before him to STEEP.
We prayed for our friend and brother again, asking for God's favor as he sought help for the problems he knew he couldn't defeat on his own. A few of us made plans that day to help him with things he needed, but as I left, I rejoiced.
I rejoiced, not in my comfort compared to his struggle; not in my good health (it's debatable, ask my wife); not in how God has shown favor on me. I rejoiced because in my friends struggle, he was able to be thankful.
It really gave me a new perspective on how I approached my day. How easily it is to take for granted how hard life is for many. When things are going pretty well, we just move right on through life without even thinking to slow down and appreciate how fortunate we are in that moment.
But also, how fortunate we are because of our relationship with God through faith in Christ. Without Him, what would my friend have to be thankful for? But because we know Him, we have everything to be thankful for.
We get to live this life for Him. Our life, our struggles, our blessings, they all have meaning and significance beyond right now... they are worth more because He is our purpose.