If you’re breathing, you’re struggling. Maybe not with something world shattering like cancer or divorce, but life on this side of eternity is troublesome at times.
If you find that statement annoying, cynical, or something you’re not prepared to deal with at the moment, I understand. But you probably are upset because you’re in the midst of hardship right now (and don’t want to think about it), you’re in denial, or somebody has convinced you to “positively confess” your way out of trouble.
I know it’s challenging to read a blog about hope when you’re hopeless or pretending all is well, but maybe it’s time to face the battle and grow through it.
For the record, I’m not a pessimist or a fatalist.
However, after many decades of experience on planet Earth, I accept this reality: Life is hard, but that’s not the end of the story.
By the way, Jesus agrees with me. He said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus isn’t the preacher who tells you to put on a happy face despite your struggles and heartaches. He does, however, want us to refocus our angst by looking to Him and remembering His ultimate victory on our behalf.
Yup. Life isn’t always easy, and it rarely meets all our expectations. Occasionally our dreams become nightmares. Sometimes our hopes get demolished by unexpected tragedies, like a wrecking ball razing a building. Often, we zig right with all our might and life zags left with a vengeance.
When life hits the fan, we have a few options:
- Give up
- Throw up
- Suck it up
- Blow up
- Lock up
- Deny what’s happening (Deny up?)
- Look up
I vote for looking up. By that I mean to refocus on a higher reality when faced with a depressing reality.
If you just sighed, shook your head, and considered unsubscribing from my blog, hold on.
“Looking up” isn’t some useless, religious, and ridiculous cliché. But looking up is the best option because it means you decide where you will fix your eyes, your mind, and your heart. Where you focus your attention matters. A lot.
Try something with me for a second. Put your hand right in front of your face and about three or four inches from your nose. First, focus on your hand. Besides getting a bit cross-eyed (and looking a little strange to those around you if you’re in public), you’ll notice that if you focus on your hand that’s pretty much all you see.
Now, do it again and focus your eyes beyond your hand. Weird, huh? Your hand is still there, still in your face, and still a reality. However, now you’ve focused elsewhere, on a bigger reality, and you can see more. Far more. You can see beyond what’s right in your face.
Looking up doesn’t mean slapping a Jesus-sticker on your problem. It doesn’t mean you say some memorized words of prayer to the painfully silent heavens.
I am not suggesting you get more faith, or that you learn to be a better overcomer. (I’m not a big fan of that phrase.)
Looking up means choosing to see beyond the struggle that’s in your face.
Instead of getting cross-eyed, confused, angry, or depressed, you make a conscious decision to intentionally attach your soul to the One who loves you more than His own life.
I agree with Erwin McManus who wrote, “Your greatness is on the other side of your pain.” The question is: Will you go through the pain or grow through the pain?
The choice is yours.