Please sit back and for a few minutes, I hope this message nourishes you in the most meaningful way to comfort you in your sorrows and strengthen you to keep climbing into the ring to face your battles.
Episode #14: Tough Times Ahead
Today’s episode starts with a song from Credence Clearwater Revival (CCR), Bad Moon Rising.
Please spend a few minutes listening to any version you can find on the internet.
I hope you enjoyed that song. Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) led by lead singer John Fogerty, played together under the name CCR for a short period of about 4 years and topped the charts with an eclectic style that blended some southern rock, country rock and blues to produce some wonderful music. It was too bad that the band members just could not get along as they rocketed up the charts and disbanded in the early 70s after a few short years of amazing success.
The song Bad Moon Rising highlights a common mindset that we all carry with us over our lives and that is a tendency to ponder and think about a negative future instead of a positive outlook. Anthropologists would describe that we are hard-wired to prepare for the negative as a protective mechanism from the early days of man’s journey on earth. I am not really sure about all of that, but regardless of the debate of the origins of our mindset, the fact remains that we all have a tendency to think about a negative outcome of future events instead of a positive outcome. This mindset can be a major obstacle for us reaching our full potential.
When we look into the ancient scriptures, we can find some helpful guidance to encourage us to strengthen our faith around a positive future as opposed to a negative one. Specifically, Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church in the second book of Corinthians, Chapter 1 versus 8-9 (2 Corinthians 1:8-9) can provide some insight for us (please find a version of this scripture on the internet).
The background of this situation is that the apostle Paul is working hard to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the present-day Mediterranean region. Paul wrote letters to the various churches he visited to be an encouragement in their faith and provide instruction to these early churches. Paul endured some incredibly difficult moments in his journey. He had been stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked, left cold and hungry, snake bitten, jailed, beaten almost to death, and his life had been constantly threatened. Paul had every right to have a negative mindset about his future, but as we see in these few versus, he had a foundation of faith that gave him strength to endure no matter how the future unfolded.
In Paul’s description of his experience, he writes in verse 8 “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” For many of us, we may not have suffered the physical hardship that Paul endured, but I am sure we can all relate to some breaking points in our close relationships, some financial or legal hardships, and some emotional distress in our lives that we felt like “there is no way I can survive this one” and as the song says, “there is a bad moon on the rise.”
Please reflect for a moment on a time when you felt crushed and overwhelmed with a certain situation…perhaps you are in a moment like that right now.
The life of Paul is a great example for us on our ability to endure and keep moving forward in the pursuit of purpose. As Paul concludes his guidance to the people of the Corinthian church, the message is relevant to us today as it was to the people back then, “But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God.”
We have all been raised with the expectation that we need to be able to stand on our own and make our way. That guidance is helpful for us to ensure we become responsible for the decisions we make. However, as we look to build and strengthen our faith, it is important to embrace the providence of God who has a great plan for our lives even when we may not be able to see it right now.
We all will reach breaking points in our lives. We may not have anyone in our immediate circle of family and friends that can seem to comfort us in our struggles. Paul’s message to us that can be a great reassurance is that even in our feelings of loneliness, we can always rely on God to be with us to comfort us. It is not a weakness nor a crutch to lean on God. He is there for us because we matter.
Take a moment to reflect on the following questions:
- In what areas of my life do I seem to continually hit a breaking point? Is it in close relationships? In a journey to find purpose in work?
- How have I endured tough times in the past? How can I see myself relying on God in tough times today and in the future?
As you continue along in your journey, please remember that we all find ourselves at breaking points in our journey. It can feel like we are “crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure.” If you find yourself feeling this way, please remember that (1) God promises and is always faithful to be looking out for us to help comfort us and we should call on Him in our time of need and (2) Please reach out to a close friend to talk and please consider me one of your friends today.
As you continue to reflect on the message, please take a moment to search the internet to find and listen to I know Who Holds Tomorrow.
How can I help you today? My mobile is 269-370-9275 and my email is email@example.com
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