Life is hard. It seems as though everyone around me is going through something. Sometimes you want to give up, you want to quit, you want all of the problems and challenges to go away. I’m no different than you. The past couple of months have been extraordinarily challenging for me. Hurts, attacks, disappointments, frustrations, periods of depression and anxiousness. As a pastor, I am in the firing line. I have relatively thick skin, but I am not invinceable. But a lot of people think I am. They think that no matter what they say to me, do to me, or don’t do to me doesn’t affect me. As life plays out, we must make a decision. Am I going to let circumstances dictate my life? Am I going to let circumstances dictate what I know about God? Am I going to let circumstances dictate my actions? Am I going to let circumstances dictate my love and passion for people?
My answer should be no different than yours. If you’re a Christian, a true follower of Christ, then the answer should be a resounding NO! Life is not going to live me; I am going to live life serving a holy and perfect God to the very best of my ability with a passion and drive that no one will be able to crush. The Bible says that trouble is coming, it is inevitable, but as a follower of Christ, I need to be ready and recognize where the problems are coming from. It is not from people in the community, or the flock of God that I am charged to shepherd, and it doesn’t come from my family. Problems come because Satan and his demons do not want me to serve God with all my heart, soul, and mind. They want me to slide, they want me to be average, they want me to be defeated, they want to crush the very essence of what and who God made me to be.
I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. I am a student of the Word. I can confidently say with Paul, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) I will keep going. What about you? Are you going to let circumstances dictate your life?
The Apostle Paul has been a great encouragement to me and I believe the central purpose for all the problems and challeges and suffering and pain in our lives can be summed up in the following passage: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:10-12)
Each day that I can serve God, I can boldy say, yes, it is worth it.