I lift up my eyes to the mountains----where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip----he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you----the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm----he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121
"Will it ever rain again?" the farmer cries out as waves of dust follow his tractor over his crops. Next door, his neighbor sends out yet another resume' to yet another obscure corner of a job market he once found easy to master. In his mind, he shakes the dust and cobwebs from his wallet and winces as his soul shrivels in the absence of hope. "Will it ever rain again?" on his desire to work. In the next town over, a young couple weeps as the doctors tell them their final hope of having a child of their own has been dashed to pieces. Sure it's "rained" enough for them in other parts of their lives; their bank accounts are bulging and they find great joy and fulfillment in the work they do. So on the outside all looks well---but in the privacy of their togetherness the sadness spills out, making even the brightest days seem bleak. Indeed, they wonder if the sun will ever shine on their dreams again?
There are moments in nearly all our lives when it feels like life has just swept away the last possible thread of a dream; when we've slipped down a cliff and the branch we grabbed tore loose from the hillside, leaving us to tumble head over heels down the rocks and gravel far enough to be hurt but not far enough to put us out of the race.
What are we to do, as followers of Jesus, in these moments of distress? How do we find the strength to get back up and start moving forward again? How do we express our grief or despair without allowing it to swallow us up and cut us off from any chance of feeling the Father's presence in the moment?
There's only one answer, of course, and it's the answer no one gives because it seems so inadequate: Knowing Jesus well must trump trying harder to be like Him. The Kingdom walk and work has never been about trying harder (to be obedient...to overcome sin...to be holier); and it's never been about guaranteed success or happiness...: and it's never even been about the absence of trial, for as James and Jesus both warned us, in this life WE WILL HAVE TRIALS. No, the answer both before, during and after the days when we wonder if it's ever going to rain again is this: We must continually lift up our eyes and gaze upon the Suffering Servant, who came and bled and died so we who claim Him as Savior may know with certainty that it will not always be like this.
For to be close enough to see His Face and hear His Words and know His Will is to know we are in the right place at the right time because we are where He is. To look upon the Savior means to move as He moves, with integrity and competence and compassion; for He grips our gaze and holds it as He teaches us to live a life of service and sacrifice to something bigger than ourselves. Trying harder always fails because it calls us to rest in our own strength; while knowing Christ better equips us to look beyond our present trials---or up from our deep distress---to be reminded we can rest in His strength.
Begin today to spend even five minutes in Scripture, for those minutes will do more to change your life than all the trying we have in us.
by Randy Kilgore
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11