How do you deal with life when it gets all bunched up, boiling with stress or uncertainty? As the photo above indicates, some people use mind-numbing substances to cope… beer or hard liquor or drugs. It is interesting to note that these beer cans were laying in front of our local missions building. I saw them as I started my morning prayerwalk today and my mind started sifting through my own past behavior. I also thought of the people who I try to minister to each week. It is not uncommon to see hypodermic needles on the ground or broken whiskey bottles. Even though I may not have indulged in all of the harmful items refereed to above, I have tasted some of them over the course of my life. If we are to be honest with ourselves, all of us have engaged in self-destructive behavior in an attempt to blur the effects of life when it gets tough. Yes, you have too. Maybe your “escape” did not come in a hypodermic needle or bottle of Jack-n-the-Black. Possibly it comes in the form of an illicit affair – destroying the purity of your marriage. Maybe it comes in the form of too much comfort food – destroying your health.
Regardless of what form your escapism takes, we can learn a lesson together. Yes, we church folks act like we know all the answers, but we often do not actually put these powerful principles into practice… do we? Think about this:
Break it down…
- Humble yourself… yep, you must admit that you need God more than you need yourself. Trust me, you can’t do things on your own anyway.
- Cast your anxieties on Him…He can handle it “for” you when you cannot handle things on your own.
- Because He cares for you… hey, what else do you need to know? The Lord God Almighty cares about His children.
- Be sober-minded… we are back to the beginning now… beer, alcohol, drugs, affairs, over eating, other destructive behavior will not allow you to remain sober-minded or you might say, clear-headed.
- Your adversary is the devil… and he wants to destroy your witness, your family, your life. If you are a believer in Christ, the devil cannot steal your soul, but he can destroy your life on this earth.
- Resist him… the Lord wouldn’t tell us to resist the devil if we didn’t have the capacity to do so… think about it.
- The same suffering is being experienced by your brothers around the world… you are not alone. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you are so special that no one else understands what you are going through. There is nothing new under the sun… not even the sin and suffering that you struggle with. It is simply part of the human experience. Yet, if you are truly a child of God, He can set you free from addictions, pride, sin, and other bad decisions.
- And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you… suffering will come, but it is not permanent. This is not an easy thing to swallow. Yes, suffering will visit us in this life if we are followers of and believers in Jesus. Becoming a child of God does not shield us from suffering. Rather, it almost guarantees us that we will face suffering. Jesus mentioned that to us in John 15:20. However, the story doesn’t end there. In His time, not ours, God will restore, strengthen, and establish you. Yes, I know… you want to be restored… right now! Hang in there… trust in God, cast your cares on Him.
So, how do you cope my friend? Are you reaching for things that will destroy you? I pray not. Think about these few verses of scripture and purpose in your heart to believe them. If you are not a Christian (a believer in Christ), then these verses probably make no sense to you. If you are my brother or sister in Him, well… take a deep breath and trust His word… amen.