Thursday, April 17, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
One morning last week, as I was working out, I began praying.
As I was mentally going through those on my prayer list, I started thinking about my own struggles, wondering how they compared to the struggles of those I was praying for. Were they as big or significant? How does the possible loss of a child compare to needing to get a better handle on my eating habits? Or, a broken marriage compare with a tween with a bad attitude?
When I realized what I was doing, I stopped. Then, I cursed Satan for being able to distract me, even during my prayer time.
In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
He doesn’t say, “Some of you will have greater troubles than others” or “You will have peace in me only if your troubles are significant.” There is no distinction, making one type of struggle more important, more meaningful or more worthy of prayer than another.
Although some commentaries suggest that the use of trouble in this verse speaks of the hardship Christians may endure as a result of following Christ, others suggest that the word trouble comes from the Hebrew word tsarah, which can be defined as, among other things, distress.
Again, there is no mention of one tribulation being worse than another. It’s simply, that trouble will occur. So, why do we continue to get caught in the comparison trap, even for something as painful as the types of problems we encounter? This seems ridiculous. Yet, I would argue that it is not that uncommon and that I am not the only one who has done this.
Not only do we want our “goods” to be better than the person next to us, we want our “bads” to be worse. And when they’re not, we feel insignificant and wonder if God will even notice our struggles when put side by side with our neighbor’s.
This is a dangerous trap. In 2 Corinthians 10:12, Paul criticizes the false teachers of the time by saying, “Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as a standard of measurement. How ignorant!”
As Christians, we are called to compare ourselves with God’s standards, not against the standards of other people. Instead of asking yourself, “How does my life compare with my neighbor’s?” Ask, “How does my life measure up to what God wants?” Likewise instead of comparing our burdens and struggles with those of our peers, we should look to God and his word for the standard of measurement for trials.
So, I started looking. You know what I found when looking for scripture related to the “standards” for trials, problems and struggles? Nothing.
While I found many verses about how God helps us to endure our hardships, I found nothing about one struggle being worse or better than another.
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits our crushed.
The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
Psalm 34:17-19 (emphasis added)
My friends, let’s continue to recognize the struggles of others. Let’s do as is commanded in Galatians 6:2 and share each other’s burdens, lifting our friends, neighbors and loved ones to God in prayer. But, let’s stop comparing our struggles. Because…
God sees them all. He rescues us all.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
You are nine today. This is hard for me to believe. Time has gone so fast.
This sensitivity that helps you love more also makes it easier for you to be hurt. I worry about how the big hurts in life will affect you and I pray that God will find a way to protect your heart and help you to see the good in all situations.
I pray that you will always be true to yourself, even if it isn't popular or appreciated by this world. Don't ever stop loving, praying and caring for people. This desire comes from the Holy Spirit in you. As a result, you will be an encouragement and blessing to so many.