What do you do when life isn’t going well?
This was the question posed in my small group last week. It’s a very good one. Let me be honest here. When things are going well for me I sulk. I dwell. I pessimize. It is really easy for my problem to dominate me and keep me up at night. Am I alone? Thought not.
So what do you do? Don’t say “seek God” or “pray”. I’m a pastor and even I think those are empty cliches. Ideally, sure, seeking God through prayer would free us from all the bondage of our life-burdens, but it just doesn’t work that way. There has to be more.
Throughout Scripture the people of God would find themselves burdened. When life was spiraling out of control they prayed and sought God, sure, but there were 2 things that were commonly done that always seemed to help. No matter how dark it seemed to be for them they were able to emerge and live in hope.
- They Looked Back – God’s people were storytellers. Routinely they would gather and share all the great things God had done for His people throughout history. God Himself encouraged this approach to overcoming fear and worry by consistently referring to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (ex. Exodus 3:6 & Genesis 26:24). We have confidence that God will provide and care for us because that is how the story has always gone.
- They Looked Forward – When God wasn’t talking about the past to His people, He was pointing to the future. He showed them, through the prophets, a brighter future filled with hope. God is promise. As He kept His word throughout history we trust that He will keep His word of tomorrow.
We live in a seize the day culture. Ours is a world of celebrating the here and now above all else. As followers of Christ we trust Him for today, but we seize the yesterdays and tomorrows for our hope.