“Life is difficult…”
Some time ago a popular psychiatrist began his latest and greatest book with those three words. It was one of the nationwide bestsellers for the next four years.
Life is difficult, isn’t it?
Four years ago, my wife and I would certainly have agreed with that statement when we went through the ordeal of the disappearance of our daughter. Life was really difficult during those times, and in the months and years that followed. But, quite frankly, those days are nothing compared to what two different families who are friends or acquaintances of ours are going through right now. Both of them have lost adult children in the last few days, not through disappearance, but through death. As every parent who has experienced such a tragic loss as these couples can testify, that is one of the most difficult circumstances which a mom or dad can ever encounter, simply because “parents are not supposed to bury their children.”
Life is difficult, isn’t it?
Ask anyone who has undergone “downsizing” or plant closures, or home foreclosures, or divorce, or unpleasant calls from the doctor’s office, or perhaps to a lesser degree from the principal’s office. Each of them will agree that…
Life is difficult!
But the real question isn’t the difficulty of life – that is a given, but rather how can we get a handle on it? How are we supposed to cope with those difficult situations and relationships that life seems to hand us on a silver platter?
In the book to which I just referred, the author suggests that what people really need in order to understand and handle the trials of life is to “reach a higher level of self-understanding.” In other words, the way to overcome the difficulties we face in life is simply to get better acquainted with our “inner selves.”
I disagree. Respectfully, I would like to suggest that what people really need in order to get a handle on life, especially when it seems so hard and hurts so much, is a deeper level of God-understanding. In the words of the popular song writer: “People Need The Lord!” I need the Lord. You need the Lord! We all need the Lord!
You see, the truth of the matter is: Life is difficult. While there may be things we can change about the way we view the hardships and heartaches we encounter in life, there really is nothing we can do about the fact that the highway of life, at its very essence, is filled with all sorts of potholes. And because it is, the very best “therapy” for each difficulty is not to look within ourselves for solutions, but rather to take a good long look at the Lord God, as He is revealed to us in and through the “Word” of God – both living (that’s Jesus!) and written (that’s the Bible!)
The Bible even says: “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
And when He came, it was his own cousin John who said: “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) In other words take a good long look at Him! He is the Son of God! The Savior of man. He is the only sin-bearer and the best caregiver this world will ever know! The difficulties of life are here because of the sin problem, and Jesus is the only One who can deal effectively with that problem!
That is why we sing:
O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
So look to Him with the eyes of faith. Sure, life is difficult. (And who knows what this New Year will bring…). But when you look to Him, what you will see is One who is more than adequate for all those times when life seems so … so … impossible. And remember, He has promised that He would always be present with us, and that His grace would always be sufficient for us!
Yes, life is difficult. But don’t forget that “It will be worth it all When we see Jesus…” What we see then is what we will get. And what we will get is one who is not only adequate, but also infinite! Life is difficult. But He is infinite!
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Times-Gazette.