This is hard. This year, this season, this circumstance. I got a call last night about a difficult and terrible situation in the life of one of my dear family members. I was grieved. I still am. I feel hopeless and burdened.
Why does so much of life feel like we are caught in a mud hole and can’t seem to get out?
If I can just get beyond this… beyond this season, this circumstance, this year! THEN I will be comfortable. Trouble is, this life is not designed for our comfort. But for those in Christ, it is designed for our sanctification. It is designed for us to seek and find the peace and joy of Christ beyond the messy, muddy life we are called to.
How can we possibly get beyond this while still in it?
Paul was in a prison cell, dark, cold and alone when he penned the truths found in the letter to the Philippians. He was a man who well knew how to get beyond while still physically in his “this”.
As he nears the end of the letter, his urgency for unity in the Body of Christ and his passion for encouraging the believers grows. His pen seems to press boldly unto the page with three ways to get beyond this.
1. He calls us to rejoice. This is a physical joy that is demonstrative. The man is in a horrible circumstance! But hey, let’s clap and leap about with joy! Huh? He doesn’t say rejoice because life hurts, you are grieving, you are in a trial. Nope.
He says rejoice IN THE LORD. When we know God’s character and heart and see from His perspective we can rejoice, in our circumstances, despite our circumstances.
Who is God in this? Where are you at work here, Lord? Give me Your perspective. Then we can rejoice and celebrate and clap for that in our this, because He is always at work to fulfill that which concerns me (Psalm 138:8).
2. We get beyond our circumstances when we choose to let our gentleness and our being yielded to the Lord be evident. In other words, bear fruit of one who is following the Lord. Whether we are following self, the world or Jesus, our fruit is evident to our children, husbands, friends and the lost world around us who needs the hope we have.
What fruit are we bearing? Stubborn, divisive, pride-filled fruit or yielded, gentle, grace filled fruit. We will bear fruit from that which fills us. If we spend more time filling up with the Word than the world, it will be evident, not in our “churchy” words but rather in our gentle and grace filled fruit.
3. Getting beyond our circumstances comes when we pray with thanksgiving to God. When we come to Him, as often as needed, and lay our requests and cares at His feet with gratitude, knowing He handles all things well.
Where do I take my fears? Do I run to text someone, tell someone or wring my hands over it? When we recognize we cannot possibly understand or fully see and instead we trust His heart and bring Him our cares, then we will begin to live beyond the hard circumstances, despite their grip on our ankles. We will then live with hope and peace that Paul says is beyond understanding.
What is your “this” in the current season? We could probably list many right now with all that is threatening to swallow us these days.
Could you and I instead pause enough to see God in the circumstance, yield ourselves to Him and pray with gratitude to the One who will then guard our weak hearts and vulnerable minds with His peace which is beyond all understanding?
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