Life is hard! Life is challenging! Life is ever-changing! Life is good! Life is meant to be lived!
If I were to take a poll of one hundred random people on the streets and ask them if life was hard, I think 100% of them would answer yes. If I were to ask them if life was good, I guarantee I would not get the same unanimous response. Discouragement is a subtle cancer that sours and sullies our hearts and minds. It doesn't take long for discouragement to blossom into depression and depression to sprout into hopelessness.
This morning my wife read a Daily Bread excerpt from Psalm 18. Psalm 18 is this herculean text that has such an encouraging flavor to it. David is unloading about how much he trusts and loves the Lord. The whole Psalm is filled with positivity and has such a sweet vibe to it. In the Daily Bread text, the author describes David as "A man who trusted in God". After my wife read that part to me about" David being a man of trust" I asked her to stop reading for a minute. I said, "Yeah, David trusted God the day he wrote that Psalm, but what about the day he wrote Psalm 22?" If we are honest with ourselves, trust seems to go up and down like a yo-yo on a string. Sure Psalm 18 is filled with scriptures depicting David's trust in God, but a few psalms later we hear a man who is struggling. A man who is honest enough to say, "Whats going on God, I don't get this."
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest. Psalm 22:1-2.
Have you ever felt like that? Like life has picked up a frying pan and smacked you in the face. When the sun comes up you are scratching your head searching for relief and when darkness takes over the daytime sky you fall further into disappointment and despair. We all have lived in the reality of this text. It reminds us life is hard for all of us, and that trusting God is only good for that given day. There's nothing wrong with admitting and embracing that.
The ultimate reality that God wants for us to live in, the cool aid that He wants us to drink daily, is the truth that life is good and it is meant to be lived! In fact, I might go as far as saying that life, no matter how it tastes, is God's greatest gift to us.
A lot of us have prescribed to the method of, "You've got to fake it to make it." Somehow we think if we listen to enough Tony Robbins messages on the power of positive thinking, or read enough self-help books, our well water will once again rise to the top and our droughts will be over. This is not the way that our Master, Teacher and Savior taught. Sure, there is power in positive thinking, it is a biblical concept at it's core.
"Whatever is true, honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is anything excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Phil 4:8.
A person who commits to this way of thinking, is like a person who does their food shopping in an organic food store. Of course it will have many positive benefits, and your life will reflect it. But even after a person eats their fruits and vegetables, the reality of junk food still exists, it is inescapable. All of our efforts to pump ourselves up like we are pumping water from a well will fail at the end of the day. We were not created to draw water from a pump, but to draw water from a different source. Jesus said, "The one who believes in Me, as the scripture said, "From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water." John 7:8.
We were born to, or rather reborn, to flow like a river, not pump like a well. So how do we flow while living within the harsh, difficult realities of life, and not have our water supply cut off? How do we accept the things that we wish were not and allow our water supply of peace, love, hope and trust to continue coursing through our lives and flow into others. The answer is tucked away in the text of that same sad Psalm. After David starts out with two head scratching verses, wondering where God is, he writes verse three and then puts a bow on it in verses 28 and 29.
"Yet you are Holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel." Psalm 22:3. "For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before Him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive." Psalm 22:28-29.
When we live in the reality of God's total and complete sovereignty we can turn our pumps off. Whether the sun is shining through our windows or the curtains are drawn we will be able to live life richly, passionately and gratefully. At the end of the day, regardless of our achievements, verse 29 reminds us that no one has yet figured out how to keep themselves alive. We've sent men and women into orbit, created microchips containing billions of bits of information, and have made artificial breathing machines, but we all will one day visit the same day, a day without breath.
Breath and life are God's domain as is everything else. No matter how it appears, feels like, or seems, He rules! The sooner we plunge ourselves into this truth, the quicker we will become the children we were meant to be, being channeled by a stream of living water flowing from within, instead of a well that will always run dry.