By Sandy Jones
Remember the old children’s song, ‘nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms?’
Why is it so easy to have a big ol’ pity party when things aren’t going the way we’d like?
The months of March through August have been entertaining to say the least. While I already work from home, I assumed I wouldn’t be emotionally impacted by all the joys COVID-19 brought with it.
What I hadn’t considered was that I’m accustomed to my husband traveling extensively for work, leaving me with lots of privacy, and quiet time to focus on life and this ministry.
For instance, when he’s on the road, it’s okay to have popcorn for dinner occasionally.
Let’s just say, I haven’t had popcorn for dinner since sometime in February.
We share an office, which means we can’t both be on the phone at the same time, and I’ve discovered that we both talk to ourselves A LOT!
There haven’t been many face-to-face meetings, and I might be getting a bit stir-crazy. When added to other things, it all combines to make for a good old-fashioned pity party.
Yep! Even I have been known to hold a pity party.
It was on what I thought was a particularly rough day that I opened my devotional to 2 Corinthians, chapter 11.
I have to interject here – who doesn’t love the Apostle Paul? First he hated Christians. Thoroughly enjoyed his job making them fear for their lives, and making them miserable. Then he has this encounter on the road to Damascus; followed by 3 days of blindness and, some believe, alone with Jesus; he comes out of it a whole new man, with a whole new passion in life!
In this reading Paul is brutally honest, saying, 23b I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
Ummm, what was I whining about again?
The more I read, study and learn about the lives of the disciples the more I realize that even on my bad days I have it so good!
I mean it’s one thing to be on Team Jesus when you spend every day hanging with Him. Or even if you get to see Him and have dinner occasionally. But some of the disciples lived as many as 33 years longer than Jesus Himself, and their stories, their recollections, their passion for His ministry never changed! The Apostle Paul didn’t even convert until 1 to 2 years after Christ’s ascension to Heaven.
These faithful men were shunned, beaten, imprisoned, and martyred, with at least 2 of them crucified for their beliefs. One has to ask themselves, ‘who would do that, if it was all fake?’ Not to mention the ‘non-Christian’ historical documents and artifacts that have been found to substantiate so much of what we learn in the Bible.
I have discovered as the days have become weeks, and now the weeks have become months, that if I consciously choose to focus on Who I serve, that I am able to maintain a healthier perspective on the troubles of this world. Stories like Paul’s help me to remain focused and steadfast, knowing full well that God’s got this, and me with it, whatever “this” I may be facing today.
As long as God’s got “this,” then I can continue to live as commanded, “He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Luke 10:27 NIV
Please don’t think me naïve, or Pollyanna. One thing I’ve struggled with these past months is where Scripture tells us in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
I’ve seen and heard this verse quoted time and again, even doing so myself.
One of the things that burdens my heart is that I see, hear and read of so much hate and discontent, anger and resentment in this world today, the same world, the same universe that our God created. While I see all of these other emotions, I simply must confess that I don’t see a lot of humbling going on.
In our last issue, I invited you to join me in being the Hands and Feet of Christ. I extend this invitation once again, and the next time the trials of this life get to you, I encourage you to stop, and think, then choose, as Paul did, to take it in stride and stay focused on God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit Who resides in you.
God’s got this!
Until next time….
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