It has been a whirlwind of a year. I have been struggling with something for quite awhile now and it has grown into quite the battle within the last 7 months or so. After a very frustrating weekend, I talked with my awesome husband about it. I spilled my guts and told him how frustrated I was because I simply am not at peace with this. I don't know if you've ever felt extreme discontent...it really sucks. As I explained to him how I felt, he listened and mentioned that I usually don't struggle with this unless I am surrounded by it. I thought for a minute about and realized that this was most certainly the case. On occasion I have felt uneasy when not around it, but for the most part Nate's insight lined up with my feelings. He kindly and lovingly stated that he thought it was similar to temptation. He gave me a story to illustrate his point. He said that when he isn't around junk-food he rarely desires it. However, when he is surrounded by it, it then becomes enticing and is a struggle to not consume it.
Now I know this is no novel idea (temptation), but sometimes it takes me a little longer to pick up on ideas. At times I can have a very one-tracked mind. So today I studied a few familiar verses on temptation that I hadn't studied in awhile. Here are the verses with a few insights:
"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."1 Corinthians 10:13
These three small lines have so much power! This is such a comfort. At times I feel as though I am so alone; that I am the only person who is struggling with this. This verse also reminds me of one simple truth: God is faithful. No matter how many times I screw up and give into this temptation, if I come to Him with true repentance, then He will remain faithful. And I am finding that my escape from this temptation is prayer and the Word...I've tried talking with a few people about this and I really don't find much peace from it. It's nice to get it off my chest, but I don't feel peace until I come to God. This brings me into the next verse...
"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26: 41
"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12
My bible gave excellent feedback to this verse: Those who remain steadfast under testing will receive the crown of life, which refers not to life hereafter, but to life here and now, enjoyed more abundantly and in greater fullness.
This got me thinking: what would it be like to live more abundantly? I've always thought that I've lived life to its fullest...but now that I actually think about it I realize a somewhat terrifying truth...I have not.
And finally, an oft quoted verse...
"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4
I wish I was as smart as the theologians who composed the footnotes to my Bible, but alas, I am not :) Again, another footnote that is great for helping us to further understand these verses: When our Christian character goes through hardship, hope of receiving what God has promised grows stronger.
A friend told me once this year that what I must do in times of extreme trial is to remain hopeful. It is when we lose hope that we sink so far down. As hard as it is to stay hopeful and to keep all of these verses in mind, it is so necessary. God has NOT promised us a hardship-free life. But He has given us so many other promises to bank on (I know, I ended a sentence with a preposition...deal with it :).
So now that I've taken up most of your evening, go do something productive. Just kidding. I am continually amazed at the peace God can bring; how He can take someone who feels so broken and uneasy and make them whole again. I wonder how I ever made it 18 years without Him.