Depressing, lonely seasons of our lives are inevitable: they seem to arrive whether or not we are ready, whether or not we welcome them. Even Jesus knew well these human experiences. (Heb. 2:14) The trick is not to allow these feelings to overpower and rule us. We can be touched by them; but we should not be controlled by them. We must protect ourselves from these experiences so that they do not debilitate our daily living. Our response to these issues will determine the outcome.
Henri Nouwen writes:
"One of life's great questions centers not on what happens to us, but rather, how we will live in and through whatever happens. We cannot change most circumstances in our lives. . . . Our choice, then, often revolves around not what has happened or will happen to us, but how we will relate to life's turns and circumstances. Put another way: Will I relate to my life resentfully or gratefully?"
Though difficult, I must make the effort to step back from my situation in order to view it as it really is: merely circumstantial. In other words, life situations are not etched in stone, unchangeable. The mighty Spirit of God maintains the power to change my circumstances.
Again, Nouwen writes, "We are called time and again to discover God's Spirit at work within our lives, within us, amid even the dark moments. We are invited to choose life. A key in understanding suffering has to do with our not rebelling at the inconveniences and pains life presents to us."
Whether I am reading this from a prison, an impoverished village, a lonely college dorm room, a mansion or the White House, the Lord is near and ready to see me through another situation. He loves me greatly, and He longs for me to rest in Him.
My location has nothing to do with me, on a personal level, and neither do my circumstances. As a matter of fact, what seem to be impossible situations are yet another way for God to appear and show Himself victorious. This does not mean that I will not have to endure any longer my present situation. But it does mean that God can change how I view that situation. From His perspective, I can walk through (not to) the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil because He is with me, His shepherd's rod and staff leading and guiding my path toward Him. (Psalm 23)
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Turn My Mourning Into Dancing: Finding Hope in Hard Times (Nashville: W Publishing Group)
This post was written by William Birch. You can find his blog here: http://www.williambirch.net