If you want to get closer to Jesus, stand with the poor, the sick and the oppressed.
Trying to hold onto hope when it seems like God has forgotten you feels not only impossible, but foolish. Hope feels like an instrument of torture rather than a pillar within the life of a person of faith.
Yet the question I have asked myself and God repeatedly during this season is this: I believe in Jesus, why am I such a mess?
You know what I want from God when everything is going wrong? Hugs. Explanations. Lightning bolts directed at certain people (just being honest).
You know what I don't want? A rod. Or a staff.
Yet in Psalm 23 that's how David said God gave him comfort when he was dealing with difficult situations.
So, how can that help me when I deal with life's challenges?
I've been treated unjustly more than once in my life. I'm willing to bet you have as well.
In the midst of situations like that, don't you absolutely want God to take up your case? To make everything turn out right for you, and also, if it's not too much trouble God, to teach that jerk a lesson?
I think David has some insight to share for us that will help us lead spiritually healthier lives in the midst of these challenges...
Lately, I've come to a realization: that the primary way our world is broken is found in one primary area: relationships.
Where there is a lack of relationships, the void that exists causes great pain to people.
Relationships are not always easy. It involves caring about other people and communicating.
I've had both negative and positive examples of this in my life lately. Lemme share a few with you...
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I suspect many people share this sentiment.
One multiple occasions after having negative interactions or experiences, I have considered not only removing the apps from my phone for facebook, twitter and instagram, but deleting my account altogether.
Maybe you have considered this as well. When I start feeling overwhelmed by this feelings, I can often wonder whether Jesus can use facebook for any real good in our world.
Can I be honest for a minute? The last year of my life has been pretty difficult. I've had to look for ideas and concepts to keep my sanity.
One of the things I've focussed on comes from the famous Corinthian love passage: "Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love."
I'm not very in touch with my emotions, but I love God as best I can.
Hope has become too painful in my life because I confuse it easily with creating my own expectations, so I'm trying to stop doing that. I call this the Shawshank protocol.
I equate faith with trust. Trust is essentially the last thread left that I'm holding onto.
Most people would probably consider me to be a religious individual. I believe in God and regularly read the bible and pray and go to church. I involve myself in charity work and generally try to be a not-terrible individual. Some days are better than others as far as that goes. Let's put it this way, sometimes, I totally get why Jean-Paul Sartre would say that "Hell is other people".
So, when I tell you what I consider the worst part of being religious to be, you know that I’m doing it not as somebody throwing rocks at the establishment, but as somebody who cares about it.
I don't know about you, but sometimes I have moments that cause me to say something along the lines of "Seriously, God?"
When some things (or everything) simply doesn't make sense in my life, I quickly discover a bit of entitlement I hold in my heart - that God owes me a life that makes sense, or at least an explanation when it doesn't.
I know this is completely contrary to many scriptural examples, but sometimes I'm way too selfish to care.