Mark Affleck


November 3, 2016
Spiritual Growth

NEWS FLASH—If you are feeling like that…you are in a very large group!
Man, did it ever take me a long time to get this right in my head and realize that life is a journey of joy in the here and now. Every minute. Every day. Always.
I can understand that at a surface level. Heck, I’m writing about it right now and I even teach it to my kids. But it is, nonetheless, common for me to feel like I’m running behind on everything. When that feeling invades my soul, it’s hard to avoid the strong pull to have a defeatist attitude when I encounter life’s trials. Being negative in this way when tribulation comes makes me feel isolated and afraid.
I have learned that feeling isolated is a predictable and something God uses to show me in the most intimate way possible that he is with me and not going anywhere without me. God uses that kind of isolation to test my character and faith. He uses it to show me that the adversity in my life is there to strengthen me so I can emerge with stronger faith.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed…so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 18
God wants us to wait for his refining work to be manifest and look for his perspective even while we are discouraged and in the vortex of affliction. He wants us to trust his providential timing and not allow that discouragement to win while we’re in the waiting periods of life. The best approach to stop discouragement in its tracks. But as clear and logical as that is, many believers seem to respond in exactly the opposite way. I know that can be the case in my life. That is, the bigger the trouble, the less we seem to pray and the more prone we are to give up.
This perplexing dichotomy has us asking in disbelief, “I’ve committed my life to God…why is this happening to me?” Then a new rush of hopelessness engulfs us, and feeling alone we move even farther from turning the problem over to God and believing he can pull the rabbit out of the hat.
This is precisely when we need to wait for God’s refinement to take root in our life.
No matter what happens in our circumstances, God wants us to fight off feelings of isolation and discouragement by continually stretching our perspective beyond the trials we encounter. He always gives us another angle, another way to approach the issue. Even if our emotions tell us this approach is a “longshot,” we must know that…
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

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