This is not the direction I started down when I sat down to draft this. However, as God often does, He steered me a different direction. This comes from a previous message written 6 years ago, something I needed to refocus on, and I wager some of you do too.
II Corinthians 4:8,9 (NKJV) We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…
This is becoming a common theme, for me, of late. If it is getting repetitive, I apologize, but God has really burdened me with this. I’m feeling His lead to call those around me back to the Hope that we all have in Christ Jesus.
We are all, in varying degrees, buffeted daily by strife and struggle. I see so many every day, people close to me, as well as strangers, hurting, rejected, disappointed, struggling just to survive, and losing hope.
In my Wednesday night men’s group, my good friend Rob Ricketts shared a story of personal struggle he was combating and, through faith in God, found victory. With his permission, I share it with you.
Rob is a hardworking guy. He works in construction, managing numerous men to the completion of numerous jobs. Most of the jobs he is responsible for, are bound by time constraints that can easily be challenged by ambient conditions beyond his control.
It’s a difficult and stressful occupation that can and does take a heavy toll on Rob. This time of year is crunch time. Deadlines are closing in with the inevitable approach of winter. Rob is stressed. This past week or so found him overwhelmed, distressed, and anxious. He found himself giving in to melancholy, and despair. As he put it, “I was doing the pity party, woe-is-me routine.”
Thankfully, Rob recognized the path he was headed down, and intentionally took action. He chose to turn to the one and only source that could pull him out. He prayed to God. His prayer was that God would soften his heart, restore his Hope, give him a fresh perspective and rekindle his faith. Rob’s prayer was answered. While stopping to grab a bite to eat with his brother Marc, they ran into Marc’s pastor and a new member of their church. The man with the pastor had just been given a job and the two were having a celebratory lunch. Afterward, they were going to get the man a new pair of shoes that he desperately needed.
As Rob and Marc left, Marc filled in the rest of the picture. He told Rob that the man had recently given his heart to the Lord. He told him that the man was living in a small trailer, with nothing more than a dorm fridge, microwave and sleeping bag for furnishings. This new job was a tremendous blessing and victory for the man. Rob’s heart broke. This was God’s answer to his prayer. Rob had been so wrapped up in his world, the struggles and demands of his job, he’d forgotten how incredibly blessed he is. He has a job, for one. He has a beautiful family and friends that love him. He has a home, furnishings, transportation and most importantly, a relationship with his loving Father in heaven.
Rob memorized and shared, with our group,
I Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
We all are prone to this. Things aren’t always easy. We don’t always get our way. We will experience set backs, heartache, stress and loss. However, we are each blessed every single day. The blessings can even, at times, be the result of our heartaches or set backs. The question we must ask ourselves is, will we choose to recognize it?
Blessings abound, even when they seem few and far between. Just the fact that God chose to place you here in the United States of America is an inexhaustible blessing!
However, most importantly, we must remember the greatest blessings we all receive if we so choose. That is the justification given to us by the blood of Jesus Christ and the sanctification we receive through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.
Have a blessed weekend!
II Timothy 4:7,8 (NKJV) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy