If you were to stand in the middle of a busy intersection of pedestrian and vehicle traffic, you’d get significant impressions. Besides being concerned for your safety, you’d also notice it doesn’t always go well. The hair-raising screech of tires and squeal of brakes in a near miss of cross traffic. A motorcycle driver almost clips you with his daring zig-zag around another car. A pedestrian pushes through and almost knocks others over. Someone does lose grip and drops a package. Then there’s the motorist in a hurry and blazes right through a red light. You are almost run over as a bicycler whips by you. On top of all that, there’s the airplane overhead much too low for comfort. You haven’t even thought about a possible pick-pocket.
That intersection picture is how life seems to go too often. So much coming and going, pushing and dodging, very little down time, even fewer pauses for reflection, just gotta go somewhere and get “it” done.
There’s drain from unavoidable demands and forward thrust necessary for progress even when things go well. But things don’t always go well. Many days, it doesn’t always go well as you live your life. What can you do on days like that?
People Affect How It Goes
If it weren’t for people, life might go more smoothly. People affect what happens every day as they exercise their free will. Every decision affects something. Plus, the landscape is always changing. Business, education, politics, medicine all have a push for results. People come and go. Special occasions do the same. Events absorb planning time and resources – and then they are over. Careers demand your best . . . and then come to an end. Health takes a turn for the worse. Things you never dreamed would happen – happen. All these things involve people.
Some people leave you with precious and treasured memories. Others leave you with moments of hurt and slander. Still others add significantly to your growth. Every once-in-a-while, you find people who are loyally dedicated to your life for the long haul. They form rare and treasured relationships.
Unpredictable Means Tug And Pull
Even with good relationships and well-laid plans, life doesn’t always go well. You need a lot of tug and pull to navigate unpredictable scenarios life throws at you. Your patience and flexibility will be tested again and again. Creative problem-solving skills are a must, and they are continually put to the test. Throw in betrayal, loneliness, strong opposition, unforeseen necessary deviations, lack of provisions, treachery, desertion, health issues, and more. After all that, you would not be mistaken to say you have had a tough life filled with troubles!
With all that can go wrong, what hope do you have for a meaningful life? How can you hold out for good things to happen? Is there any guarantee smoother days will come?
There’s a limit to how much tug and pull you can offer. And still – life remains very unpredictable. With so little control, you can get tired. Sad. Anxious. Reasonably concerned. Confused. Grieved.
If It Doesn’t Always Go Well, What’s Dependable?
Jesus, Himself, gave the heads up – “In this world you will have trouble.” (Jn. 16:33) He spoke to the unpredictable state of affairs in this world. But another game changer levels the playing field with hope – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) In other words, as you work to man-handle all the unpredictable issues that come into your intersection, there is something you can utterly depend on. Something that never changes. Something that is strong, firm, dependable. That something is Someone!
Jesus is always the same, and so is His Word to you. You have options, promises, directives, wisdom, companionship, and a place where you can pause to rest. Jesus calls you to Himself. “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28) He is your “get-away!”
Couldn’t you use a little more rest in your life?
There is a good case for hope if it’s placed in God. Dependable hope is the reason people can trust God. It flows out of an interesting teaching Jesus gave His disciples. “Whoever tries to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for My sake, will save it!” (Mt. 10:39) This is an exceptional teaching! If you give your life up to Jesus Christ completely, you will save yourself.
This is where you find hope. And the only reason it works is because God is faithful. He’s always the same. He loves you and will never forsake you even when others may. The Lord matches your faith with strength, power, and companionship.
1 Thess. 5:8 reminds that the hope of your salvation is your helmet. You need a helmet in your intersection.
2 Timothy 4:17-18 lays out a practical, logical plan of how life-changing hope holds you steady in the worst of times and in the best. Here is the case built from these verses. It’s a good summary theology statement.
1. The Lord is on my side –
How can you say it better? God is FOR you! If there is any side to be taken, and if you are trusting and obeying Him, God will always pick your side – every time! This doesn’t mean He will do things your way. It means He will do what He knows is best for you. Even when you are not trusting and obeying Him, He is doing everything possible to woo you back to the safe place of faith. God honors and rewards faith. That’s the side He stays on.
2. The Lord gives strength –
- Read it.
- Memorize it.
- Meditate on it.
- Picture how it looks practically applied to your life (which is to meditate).
- Then literally apply it.
When you adopt this disciplined approach to God’s Word, you have instant access to it at all times. It’s inside you. And it literally becomes your DNA. The joy, the adventure, the anticipation is to see what God will “somehow” do. His strength always shows up for the person who trusts Him. It appears in big and little ways – from a smile, to a nature scene, to a song, to quiet moments, to a kind response, to provision, to deeply needed peace, and more.
3. The Lord gives you a message –
When you start living in the above two realities, The Lord Is On My Side, and The Lord Gives Strength, you have a message to share with the i-generation. And it’s not about you. Not really. Although your life e-pistle – your life story – is intimately involved, your real message is all about Jesus Christ. He gives you hope that you want to pass on. Strong hope. You gave up your life to Him down to the detail of daily living – and He saves your life and gives it back to you with peace and joy attached.
4. The Lord delivers and rescues –
Not only does God measure what dangers you will be exposed to, He literally steps in as a shield when you trust Him. He puts Himself between you and the enemy. You need this in your intersection. Life can get pretty sporty! Who will protect you? Who will step in?
Ps. 34:7 says, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who trust Him, and He delivers them.”
Ps. 91:11-12 says, “He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. One their hands they will bear you up . ..”
God takes care of people who trust Him. He strengthens them to do what they otherwise couldn’t do. And He shares His own personal resolve with those fully committed to Him. 2 Chron. 16:9 says, “The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strength those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”
Patiently wait for His interventions. Keep trusting Him. Commit your ways, heart, soul, and mind to Him. He deserves it. God is faithful.
We already mentioned Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Heb. 13:8) The Lord will never abandon or forsake you, though others may. He loves you deeply. He will never love you less, no matter what you do. His love is strong, dependable, eternal – and it doesn’t depend on you. It depends on Him.
- Trust Him.
- Stretch toward Him.
- Lean into Him,
- Reach Back to Him.
Look up Mt. 10:39; Mk. 8:35; Lk. 9:24; Jn. 12:25. Just skim through these verses.
Pen to paper:
- What do these verses claim?
- How do these claims affect your life?
- No matter how difficult your intersection gets, you can trust God even when it doesn’t go well.
- What promise will you claim for your intersection?
Content for this article is from Session 87 of More E-pistles For An i-Generation: Relevant In A Digital Age and from 2 Timothy 4:9-22. Check out our Bible Studies to help your devotions be Alive and Active!