Life’s Struggles. Hope in Christ.

I’m sitting down to write tonight and just feeling the weight of being a grown-up.

As a child, teen, college student, and even as a young adult, I confronted inevitable tragedies with a hope that things would change and improve. While that is still a somewhat valid coping mechanism, it’s ultimately empty.

That belief places its hope in some nebulous something (what? the future? “life”?) that is fallen, temporary, and unpredictable.

The older I get, the more I realize how empty and futile it is to put my hope in anything in this world.

Within the last couple of weeks, I’ve received all sorts of bad news–sad, heart-breaking, concerning news–from family and friends.

I am faced with so many realities in these sober times.

My loved ones aren’t necessarily going through things that are terribly exceptional. Others have endured similar pain, suffering, and confusion. But their pain is so close.

And it makes me sad.

I am reminded that everything (EVERYthing!) in this world will ultimately disappoint–if not destroy–us.

I can only deal with what “this day” may bring because I have Christ.

So, how do we respond?

  • We must live always with the end in mind. I’m not afraid to die, nor do I dread it. No. I want to more deeply, more consistently, more consciously meditate and long for heaven. I am merely a sojourner here. Understanding our place in this world is central to dealing with suffering.
  • We must not clutch too tightly to the temporary, sin-tainted things of this world. At best, their good qualities are but a fraction of that which awaits us; at worst, they become “little gods” for us and derail us from the whole-hearted devotion to which God calls us.
  • We must prioritize our lives accordingly. One of the most important tasks I see before us Christian parents is to equip our children for their future battles. I don’t know that they will face anything more seemingly insurmountable than other covenant children have faced previously. But I am convicted that we, their parents, are much less prepared to train our children adequately for maturity in the Faith. We must feed our own souls so that we are strengthened to nourish them.
  • We must live in the love of Christ. Jesus has conquered all of this! He has defeated sin, death, sorrow, and suffering. Jesus is the Rest that gives a final relief, a complete comfort, and an everlasting peace.

(I’ve submitted this post to the Blog Nosh Magazine’s Loads of Hope for the Holidays Blog Carnival. Read some of the other carnival entries here.)