I wrote this on January 6th, 2014 and never posted it. Here are the musings of my heart from that long ago day…
There are a few things that I feel that the Lord has taught me in the 2013 year. Not only did he teach me once, but he continued to impress these things upon my heart during the many trials and difficulties that I faced this year. These lessons, these truths, are words to live by not only this year, but in the remaining years to come. Not only do I feel that they changed my outlook on life, but I also feel that they changed the way that I live life.
1. It’s not about the circumstances, but it is how we choose to respond to those circumstances.
Like Job and the many, many trials that he faced, he realized and understood that no matter what happened to him, no matter how much he lost, or how much was taken away from him, the name of the Lord is still to be praised. Though the everyday circumstances of our lives can change as quickly as a Colorado day, there are truths that remain constant, remain the same. The Lord is the truth. He is always faithful and always loving. No matter where we go or what we say, the Lord is constantly and continually standing by our side. There will be times when he will choose not to speak, but that does not mean that he is distant from you. Put your arm around his waist and squeeze tight. Sometimes you will feel so tired and worn out that the only thing that you can do is lean your head on his shoulder and continue walking. Arm in arm, heart to heart. It is in these moments that we discover where our strength truly resides. Is the house built upon the rock or is it built upon the sinking sand, crashing to the ground with each new wave of wind that blows along?
I have learned that the purposes and the ways of the Lord are not my own. There are many instances, many circumstances, and many failings that I cannot understand and that seem to occur without purpose, but the Lord is in our past, our present, and our future. He already knows what is to come and every time we fall to our knees before the Almighty and cry out his name in our struggles, he picks us up with his loving hands, draws us close into his embrace, and silently whispers, “Trust me.” There is no greater Lover, there is no greater Maker, there is no greater King than the one who sits enthroned in Heaven.
2. We should not only live under grace, but we should live in it.
It is by grace that we have been saved. It is by grace that we have new life. It is by grace that the Father has loved us and gave his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. It is by grace that we have hope. It is by grace that we have faith. Grace.
Grace is an integral part of our lives and also an integral part of the fact that we are saved. We have been covered by grace and as we live, we live under this covering. Thank the Lord.
But what I think that we often forget is that to live in such a way as to live like Christ we must live and operate in this grace. Now I am not saying that we are to give grace to people. That is something that only the Father can do because to extend grace is to completely disregard any bias, wrongdoing, or prior sin committed and that is not within human ability. But what I am saying is that we should live in such a way that we respond to every situation and circumstance with our saving grace in mind. IF the Lord could extend grace to us weary sinners, then can we not live in such a way that would glorify the Lord and shine the light of Christ through our words, actions, dreams, and ideals?
Living a life in the Lord’s grace promotes an attitude and a posture of thanksgiving. When you live with the knowledge and understanding of Christ and the power of his resurrection, how can we not fall on our knees in thanksgiving for what the Lord has done? Walk around a mall, watch TV, visit a high school or college campus and the ways of the world are evident. When I think of where I would be without the Lord I cannot help but praise his Name.
3. Learn, press on, and hope.
Mountains exist. I live on the doorstep of the Rocky Mountain’s extending farther north than I can see and distant to the south. I know that mountain’s exist. But sometimes we see the struggles and trials of others and fail to recognize the reality of facing mountains ourselves. Then, when a mountain is looming in front of us, we stand in shock because we say, “I can’t believe this is happening to me.” But I can believe it because mountains exist.
There are two parts to this mountainous journey that are important: the middle and the end.
When we are in the middle of the mountain, climbing and stumbling and straining to see the top with all of our might there comes a moment when we must make a choice: to go Christ’s way or to walk our own way. This pivotal moment changes the entire mountain experience because we are deciding between our own strength and might or the strength and might of the Lord who created the Heavens and the Earth and everything in them.
Walk the Lord’s way. To live and to follow the Lord in every trial and tribulation is extremely difficult, but there is no greater peace that exists apart from the peace found in the Lord’s presence. There is no greater place to be than in the Lord’s hands. If you walk with the Lord and lean on his righteous right hand, then it will not be so much about the greatness of the mountain but about the greatness of the Lord.
The end of the mountain is just as important as the middle of it. It is inevitable, when walking through the mountain with the Lord, that you will learn something very important. When we choose to walk alongside the Lord, he often uses difficult times to strengthen us and to reveal to us one more piece of who he is, what his heart is.
It will always be a temptation to run as fast as you can away from that mountain once it is over. To leave behind any memory, and trace of the jagged path left behind. Listen. If we look past and ignore the things that the Lord has placed before us then how will we ever learn from the past so that we will know how to better face the future? Because trust me when I say that another mountain will come. As surely as we live and breathe, it will come. But with the lessons that we learn, the Lord equips us with the knowledge and tools we will need to better fight the ascent up the mountain the next time, hopefully learning that there is no better place to be than with the Lord, even when climbing a mountain.
And finally, press on. Press forward. Hold onto the hope of tomorrow and the hope of new beginnings and blessings. Hold onto the truth of the Lord’s promises and the fact that he will never leave you or forsake you. He wants to give you the desires of your heart and he wants you to know his heart just as much as he knows yours. There is no end with the Lord. His mercies are new every morning and we can live and learn and laugh and love in the peace that is Christ. Allow the Holy Spirit to live and work in your life in this new year. The Lord wants to fulfill his purposes for you. But will you let him?