Just a week ago, I saw the bank thermometer read 99 degrees when I was driving back home through a small town on September 20th. Within a few days it was cold and rainy, and this morning, the thermometer read below freezing. If you live in Iowa, you kind of expect this bipolar weather from time to time. If you want something more consistent, you may want to live somewhere else like California or Hawaii, but there are always pros and cons to every decision, even where we live, right? When the weather is all over the place, maybe we learn to appreciate the nice days a little more, when we get them. Do you ever complain about the weather?
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-18
Just like the weather, we have ups and downs in our own lives. On any given day, we may experience some planned and unplanned highs and lows. We usually try to seek out and engage in activities that make us feel good, while we usually try to avoid pain and difficult emotional situations. So when we encounter troubling times, we may seek out other people or activities that make us feel better. The ways people cope with discouragement and sorrow may be as varied as the situations they encounter. We may try to self medicate with substances that make us feel better, but these are usually only temporary as well, and can take some into even darker places of addiction they may never have wanted to go. The other extreme can lead to prolonged depression, which can consume some from the world around them as well. How do we find a balance with all that we encounter in life?
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
So, when the bottom drops out of your seat, what do you hold on to for support? We can cling to those around us, to things that distract us from our current reality, or to something more solid. Is prayer usually your first or last resort in times of trouble? When we are in regular conversation with God, it is more natural to send him praise and petition when we face difficulties. We have lots of examples of this in scripture. When Paul faced challenges or imprisonment, he didn’t often despair, but saw this as an opportunity to trust even more in the saving power of his Lord to transform things. Could we see it the same way? We face little and big challenges every day, but let us embrace them with boldness in Christ, that we may grow and encourage others to do the same as we encounter the highs and lows in our lives!
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Yours in Christ,