Make this your best year ever! We hear them everywhere, affirmations that this time, this year will be different. If you can dream it, you can do it. No excuses. No regrets. Have the life you’ve always wanted.
But what if the life you’ve always wanted has become the life of your past?
Reading back over my prayer journal, I’m flooded with sorrowful memories of unexpected loss. Five of my friends, women with beautiful hearts who loved their husbands were suddenly thrust into lives alone when, in God’s sovereignty he took their soulmates home. No matter how many times I read Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began” there was no answer to ‘Why, God? Why him?” Verse 17 explains, “God, how difficult your thoughts are for me to comprehend.” So is that it, then? In our humanness the searing question remains, “Why, God?”
It’s easy to say, everything happens for a reason, when life is reasonable, isn’t it? We can go to scripture and pull out verses like Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” My friends, going through heartbreak, love God. How can this be good? Please tell me I’m not the only one perplexed by God’s Master Plan.
Looking back over the past year I remember friends who have lived through tragic accidents, devastating illnesses, unexpected loss of employment, and unfavorable life changes. Decisions made with optimism have turned dreadful and there is no easy way out. Is any of this familiar? Maybe you’re wondering how you will have the life you’ve always wanted when your dreams are in shards and plans for what could be have been suffocated by insurmountable challenges. I can’t count the number of times I ran to the Bible claiming this verse in Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Do not fear. Do not fear. Do not fear.
Where do we go from here? 2Corinthians 4:8-9 comforts us with, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Life is a contact sport, isn’t it? We are pummeled to the ground by circumstances, things that can’t be changed. We are pressed on every side. We are being shaped by forces outside our control, so we have to take charge of the one thing we can control. Our attitude. Attitude influences our emotions, affects our outlook, directs our thoughts, and governs our actions.
Romans 12: 2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The world wants us to worry. God says, just pray. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” We can’t comprehend the mind of God. We are compelled to just have faith. It sounds so easy, but life is so hard. When we can’t see what God is doing, when life is unfair, we have to trust His heart.
Life is always forward, never back there. Sorrow clings to what was; we think it insulates us from the unknown, but real life is always ahead. We have to go on. This is the life we’ve been given now and God wants us to recognize the sovereignty of his words. Romans 8:27 “He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Jesus prays for you.
Is this the life you’ve always wanted? Not by a long shot! Is this the life I’ve always wanted? Humanly speaking, not even close, but I’ve come a long way in my faith and I know that when I absorb the truth of Proverbs 3:5-6 I accept the alterations to my own plans and seek the path God has chosen for me now. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.” Empty your heart of all the grief, unforgiveness, malice, shame, and spite. Tell God how you feel and ask him to fill your heart with goodness, faith, trust, patience, love and joy. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says if you ask, he will do it. “He who calls you is trustworthy, and he will in fact do this.”
My prayer for seekers of the life you’ve always wanted is beautifully written in Hebrews 13:21: Now may the God of peace equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Life on earth is not fair. Life that lasts forever will be perfect.