Life at Its Best: Response to problems determines progress
By Jim Graff
A number of years ago, I was facing an unfortunate circumstance in my life. I was discouraged about the direction it was heading and felt like giving in. But during this time, my mentor posed a question to me that I'll never forget. He looked me square in the eyes and asked, "Jim, how are you responding to these struggles that are keeping you from success?" After a bit of stuttering, I realized what he was getting at. It wasn't the problems I was facing that were keeping me from God's best; it was my perspective.
In Psalm 34:18-19, King David - the master at succeeding through struggles - wrote, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." See, David knew that none of us are ever going to get to the point where we're living a trouble-free life. And he's living proof! He faced challenge after challenge after challenge. But in the midst of those challenges, he realized the importance of remaining positive and confident in the fact that God would "deliver him from them all."
So let me ask you - what's your response to the struggles that are keeping you from success in life? Are you living discouraged and distracted? Or are you living determined and fully dependent on God? I encourage you - Don't be a person that's always looking back, doubting your future. It's doubt tolerated that ends up being faith contaminated in our lives. Instead, look forward, and get excited about what God can and will do as you keep your focus on Him!
Another guy in the Bible who seemed to have more than enough reason to doubt was Job. Job was the wealthiest man of his time, but in one day, he lost everything dear to him. In 24 hours, his seven children and all he'd ever worked for were gone. But even then, though he had many moments of doubting, Job remained strong in his faith that God would see him through. In Job 19:25 he said, "But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives and he will stand upon the earth at last.
See, Job understood the same thing David understood. He knew life would bring trouble, failure and heartache. Why? Because we live in a fallen world, and none of us is perfect. But Job also knew that he couldn't let the destruction around him get on the inside of his soul.
The truth is that progress is always a lot messier than we expect it to be. We make more mistakes than we wish we did, and those around us make more mistakes than we wish they did. But as we're working to succeed through our struggles, let's choose not to live among the discouraged and distracted, but to live among those determined and dependent upon God! As Ephesians 3:20 says, "With God's power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine."
Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria, Texas. www.faithfamilyvictoria.com.