You can’t always change your circumstances, but you can change your choices. As a Christian you can chose how you respond to them. Choose wisely. The world is what it is—pitiful, but we can’t change it. As much as I might detest the corruption of the world and desire it to be different, the only person I can change by direct action is me. And how I deal with things I can’t change speaks volumes about my character.
Living in a place such as this, we can always think of something that will make us mad, sad, and bad. But, if we are Christians we can also think of things that will make us glad. That’s an option the world does not have. And since we are commanded to “Rejoice in the Lord alway” (Phil. 4:4) we should be doing just that. The happiness I find in the Lord cannot be taken from me, regardless of what others do to me, I lose it only if I surrender it. So, I am the only person who can truly determine whether I will be sad or glad. But, even then, I am sure to make the wrong choice unless I surrender myself fully unto the Lord. It is only when I yield myself to God that I am delivered from the weakness of my flesh and enabled to think clearly and choose wisely. And, due to this possibility I never have an excuse for my failure. If I appropriate what God makes available I can conquer any foe and endure anything God allows in my life—even when it hurts.
Now with that being said, let me share with you what it was that prompted these comments. The basis for what I said is found in 2 Cor. 12:9-10-“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.“
If we truly believe, as we claim, that strength comes out of weakness, sanctification comes out of suffering, beauty out of ashes, all things work together for good, and God’s grace is sufficient for every situation–why do we complain? Is not the fact that we complain an evidence that we need what we’ve got? Would it not be pride that causes us to think we deserve more, bigger, and better than what we have? I don’t enjoy pain and problems any more than you do and I complain more than I should, but I know that sometimes what I need is not the same as what I want and that God is wiser than I. When I say “He doeth all things well” I need to remember that is true regardless of my circumstances. The grace of God doesn’t banish my pain, but it helps me bear it and benefit from it. Regardless of how well we live, God doesn’t promise to exempt us from trials, but He does enable us to endure them. How then can I not “Rejoice in the Lord alway“(Phil. 4:4)? I fail far more than I should, but I have no one to blame but myself. Hopefully I can practice what I preach. As my friend Matt says, “I’m working on it”.