Life has a funny way of slipping out of our control. When we stop and pause we can find busyness has taken over.
You end up in a new place, with a new job or no job. Your family grows or declines by a few numbers. Or if you live in Chicago, spring welcomes you with fresh snow. Maybe you fall short of your career or educational expectations. Or, on the off chance success strikes you, you find yourself further along in your five year plan than you initially dreamed.
Whatever the case, each scenario brings new challenges and life choices to either draw you into the life of God, or away.
Here are two things from the Bible that can help us when life throws curve balls—whether we are ready for them or not.
Riches or poverty
Wealth, or the lack thereof, can come rapidly. Often times it sneaks up on you without your say. And while certain money managing skills can help keep this under check, a particular prophet in Proverbs had poignant words concerning wealth.
"Two things I ask of you... Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the Lord?" or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of the Lord." (Proverbs chapter 30, verse 7–9)
We can learn from this prophet to have the same desires. Before he has entered into either position of wealth or poverty, he declares the Lord will be his portion. Above and beyond any monetary position, he desires that his God be closest to his heart.
Simultaneously, we know how fickle we can be—how much circumstances determine the attentions and intentions of our hearts. Will you forget God when you flourish and profane him when it appears he has left you out to dry?
In the hectic spurts of life we can make small choices to treasure the most valuable (God in us) instead of putting the ultimate value on our many treasures.
Often we can find security from the content of our lives. I recently moved back to Chicago after spending three years in Tasmania and this is clearer now more than ever.
Our routines and life commitments can become so close to our hearts drowning out the homesickness for heaven which should mark the life of a Christ-follower. Whether it is the places you shop or your favourite restaurant, or the circle of friends who bring colour to your otherwise dull life. Maybe your cosy, welcoming bed doesn't seem to let you go early enough in the mornings. Our hearts can become easily attached to temporal things.
The writer of Hebrews spoke of an attitude marking the heart of true belief in the promises of God.
"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear they are seeking a homeland... But as it is, they desire a better country... therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city" (Hebrews chapter 11, verses 13–16).
The content of life can often be a cornerstone of our comfort. So when the pieces of life which are holding you together disappear, it can be distressing at best and devastating at worst.
Therefore, we must hold them as lightly as sand—knowing that as the winds of life carry them away they foreshadow a never ending goodness and beauty in the city of God, for those who live with Jesus as their Lord.
Life makes its many changes. Maybe your life is in one of those changes right now or maybe one is around the corner and you don't even know it. There is a reason why the Israelites would recite such repetitive songs. In Psalm 136 the Lord's enduring love is praised in each of the 26 verses. The one thing that never changes is the grace, mercy, and faithfulness of the Christian God.
Dan Peterson lives near Chicago, Illinois, USA. He enjoys discovering old books, new places, and good coffees. His dream is to summit a mountain on every continent and have a pet pygmy marmoset.
Dan Peterson's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/dan-peterson.html