“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”
–Jesus (John 16:33, The Message).
It is an indelible fact of life and we know it implicitly—but how many of us are doing something about it? This ‘fact of life’ is in fact, troubles, struggles, uncertainties and any other bad name we’d want to choose.
Yet, bad names intuit thoughts of things to avoid; even to the extent of curbing life-giving activities.
Think about life this way. As a baby and toddler we’re so dependent on our parents and we still yet don’t know anything of trouble, really. As we grow we have to assimilate in a world of people: school! We have to also do as our parents request. As we go through the teen years there’re the obvious struggles; but it’s in adulthood where we finally learn that troubles are simply the way of life.
We find a partner and it’s bliss... for a while. Then comes the hard work of making a marriage or partnership work (hard work, not without reward!—but hard work all the same). Along come children. More trouble in the form of hard work and stresses—we get to finally start to see life as God perhaps sees it. And if we’ve done neither marriage nor children, we don’t get off scot-free—there are a myriad of tangles set for the single person too!
The world of employment is a trap all its own—securing for itself an entire vocabulary of troubles, indiscretions and hassles. But, like all other forms of life, we must grow to adapt or we sink into a spiritual and emotional quagmire.
The key reason why we should learn to adapt to our troubles and struggles is that they’ll always be here; they’re such an obvious part of everyday life.
My parents used to say, tongue-in-cheek, ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.’ Now, we’d have to be careful where we applied that, but it’s clear to me, if we can’t defeat trouble in this life, why wouldn’t we seek to learn to embrace it? And this is the way of Jesus.
The moment we do this, and throughout the process of exploration, a whole world of resilience opens up to us!
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.