"But those that trust in the Lord shall renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary, they will walk an not grow weak"
...This week was a rough one from the surface. My favorite uncle was diagnosed with cancer, and to be honest, that broke me down quite a bit. I also found out my friend in Colorado passed away from cancer (he was only 34) and I have another family member that is about to undergo a double mastectomy in a few days. I bring this up because this message is about finding ways to overlook the struggles that we face, positively. As a Christian, it is all about trust, a trust built upon faith, and that goes well against our sinful nature - placing our absolute trust in something we cannot see, and something that many people do not even agree that exists - sounds a little crazy. But the difference lies in having faith. Without faith, we just have hope - with faith, we have trust. Can you imagine getting ready to rappel down a mountain wall, and as you are going over, your friend telling you "Man, I hope that rope is a good one..."? Would you trust that rope? Now imagine the same scenario and being told that you could trust the rope, not just hope on it. The difference is huge because of our perception. Our walk with God in this life is no different. Proverbs 30:5 puts this in perspective for us: "Every word of God has proven to be true, he is a shield to those that put their trust in him." Now think of what Ephesians 6:16 says "...above all, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish the arrows of the evil one." My point in referencing these two scriptures together is this: Faith is trusting, not hoping. That makes all the difference for a Christian - yesterday, today and tomorrow.
We have to take the good with the bad - that is life regardless of your belief system. But I can unequivocally say that Christians have a definite edge in this life, and it is not just about our religion. Whether it is raising children or facing a poor diagnosis, It is how our faith and trust is manifested in our daily walk that makes our attitude positive and our way safe. It is a shield. It is a protection for us when this life not so beautiful. It gives us an internal purpose for an eternal life that we know to be true. We have the promise and reassurance that even when life is hard and tragic an unexpected and painful - we know that still, we can do this because of our faith, not because of our own strength. I love the way God reassured his chosen ones many years ago in Genesis 28:15: "I am with you and I will watch over you wherever you will go...I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you" If God cannot lie, and his word is true, ask yourself kindly, without any regard for what this world may throw at you, what do we really have to worry about, besides not having faith and trust in God? Truth is, A life in faith is the answer to our troubles. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 is on my top 5 favorite scriptures list. It states; "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us and eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" God is simply amazing in his love.
So, the kids are out of the diaper stage. Thank you Lord! That is when the real beauty of life starts. The average cost of raising a child in 2013 for a middle income family is only $241,080. This figure does not include college tuition, or the tears you will spill on those days when you pray to not lose your ever loving mind. There will be yelling and screaming, a broken this and that that cannot be replaced. There will be sickness and illness and sometimes disease. There will be days that you may curse Crayola. There will be nights where you cannot sleep, because they cannot sleep, and I am not sure when this happens, but an age where you become actually afraid to wake them up even though it is 11:00 in the morning. Life is crazy like that. But is it not beautiful? Is this not the most amazing thing ever? Can you imagine trying to describe to a friend over the phone what it is like to be a parent and the joy that is guiding and raising and loving something of your own? We would tell them about the laughter and joy now in our life- the cute little things that they make us with the very crayons we curse. We would speak of plans and dreams and the times we treasure with our children. It would take us years to tell our friends all of the moments we can remember with them, and because of them. Overall, what we want to see and tell others about children are the good things. Parents are so proud of their kids when everyone else is not. We see the big picture. We live the big picture. Made in the image of our Creator - that is how he feels about his own, and I pray we can all take comfort in that kind of love, when life is not, so beautiful.