If 2020 has taught us anything, it has taught us that life is fragile; uncertainty is for certain; humans are very complex beings and ultimately, we all need each other for this sovereign world of ours to survive and thrive.
It’s true that we, as a nation, have been brought to our knees and shaken to our core in ways none of us could have fathomed before this pandemic hit. But if there is one good thing that can come from being knocked to your knees. It’s the quick and unexpected reminder to use that position for prayer, our greatest privilege and most honorable duty in this world.
Sometimes, we forget the importance of prayer in our lives. We forget the power of it. Prayer connects us to God. It enriches and develops our relationship with Him. Prayer gives us courage during moments of weakness. It gives us strength and direction during times of chaos and strife. It brings us a sense of peace when the world around us seems to lack it. It warms our hearts to those around us and prayer motivates us to do what we feel is God’s will for our lives.
And, yet, sometimes, I guess it takes a global pandemic to bring us to our knees to remind us of the amazing privilege and power of prayer.
During this time of fear and confusion, we have all experienced a collective struggle unlike anything we have ever experienced before in our lifetime. The good news, however, is that some of life’s greatest lessons are actually born from trials and tribulations such as this.
I once heard an elderly man say something on TV that struck me like a feather. With a slight smile and calm demeanor, he gently said, “It’s a struggle from the womb to the tomb, man.” The truth of his words hung in the air until the oxygen made its way back into my lungs. What he said is so true. Life IS full of struggles. No matter what that struggle looks like, life is full of them and our job is to go through them and, more importantly, to GROW through them.
Romans 5:4 tells us that trials produce perseverance; Perseverance develops character; Character produces hope…and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured into our hearts. In other words, there is a reason for this season of trial in our lives. As we persevere, we will not only become stronger in character, we will become more Godly as people…the people God created us to be.
Some of the greatest lessons in life come from our most humbling struggles. The older I get the more I recognize that there can be little growth without struggles.
For the evolution of our souls, we must succumb to our pain before moving into the purpose of it. I know that sounds strange, but if you give purpose to something that has caused pain or heartache in your life, then in a way you actually defeat the pain! You are spreading goodness from something unfortunate that happened to you and that transaction can, in itself, bring forth great healing to your own heart and soul.
Many of us make the mistake of thinking that our struggles are holding us back, but in reality, it is through the struggle that we are made stronger, wiser and are being better prepared for our role as God’s great advocates for faith and perseverance. We become the respite for others to lean on and to hopefully emulate.
I found an old sermon that my grandfather wrote back in the ‘50s, but the message of it has sustained me many times throughout my life, especially when I’ve gone through some of life’s most challenging parts.
He wrote in his sermon:
“You see, God faced the choice of making the way easy for men….or making man Great… HE CHOSE THE LATTER WAY…He isn’t primarily interested in easy ways…but in GREAT men…not in your comfort…security…health or even happiness….BUT IN PRODUCING SOMETHING GREAT IN YOUR SOUL AND MINE WORTHY OF PERPETUALITY BEYOND THE GRAVE…Because, you see, God, TOO, is Faithful ……on His side.”
Faith is a powerful tool. It can sustain us while prayer propels us.
I think many of us have questioned why our nation has had to endure such catastrophic changes and painful discourse throughout this life-altering year of 2020. I think it is very normal to have questions, even if we might never receive the answers we are looking for. Questions are a normal and worthwhile part of life. They get our minds thinking and our hearts searching for the resolution our soul so craves.
Author Mitch Albom once said something very inspiring that I hope you can draw comfort from in the same way that I did with regard to our questioning life.
He said, “It’s not about having the answers in life….it’s about the search for the answers….choosing to believe in something bigger than yourself that makes the journey of faith so challenging, yet so worthwhile. We share this world…and we can share it well…. And there is nothing quite like different people sharing common ground to fix the ‘holes’ in our lives.”
Here’s to us, you guys.
May the struggles of now land in the hope-chest of faith.
And may our hearts yearn and learn how to heal
May our attitudes shift to where love resides
And may we grow by…Keeping it Real