Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Mid-Week Message - Life Is Not a Rose Garden

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world."  John 16:33 (NLT)  

In 1970, country singer Lynn Anderson, had her first cross-over hit with the song Rose Garden.   The song was number one on the country charts for five weeks.  It was one of the biggest hits in any genre in the 1970's and Anderson won a Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal Country Performance because of it.  Although the lyrics pertain to an interpersonal relationship, the memorable line, "I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden" has been found suitable for many life situations.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if, just as our cars have GPS to guide us, God had given us a road map, or a daily itinerary that would alert us to the twists and turns in life that we would like to avoid?  It would be so much simpler if we didn't have unexpected occurrences.  If we knew what was coming each moment, we could plan ahead.  But that isn't the way God set life up.  In fact, Jesus assures us that it would be quite the opposite.  He then tells us, however, not to fear because He has overcome the world.  

As I listen to the news each day I am reminded of the surprises that life can spring at us.  Somehow we hear of all the bad things that happen and still have the notion that, "that only happens to other people, not to me."  Maybe it is a coping mechanism that we use when we allow ourselves to believe that we are immune to certain things.  Then when violence or tragedy becomes a reality in our own lives, we find ourselves questioning how a loving God could allow it to happen. 

A statement caught my ear a few years ago.  When a friend was diagnosed with cancer she said this, "First I asked God, why me?  But then, after I had a while to think about it, I asked myself, why not me?"  Our holy Creator does not have favorites.  When any difficulty falls upon us, it isn't because He is picking on us.  It has nothing to do with whether He loves us or not because He loves us all completely.  Jesus gave His life for each of us.  There is no greater display of love than that.  

Although the Father certainly could warn us before something causes problems in our lives, He just doesn't usually choose to do that.  But He has given us His Word that is a road map of sorts because it directs us to turn to Him.  He is there to run to at any time.  Even better, if we stay beside Him at all times, all we have to do is reach up and take His hand.  He always listens, always cares and will always lead us through whatever trials or sorrows creep into our paths.  We have the blessed promise that there is so much more ahead of us than what we experience here. 

I say often in my weekly messages that life is hard.  I repeat it to emphasize that we all struggle.  Pick any random person off of the street and we can be sure that there is something that person endures that would surprise us.  I know that each of us has something to contend with.  What I most want to keep repeating though is that we serve a God that is bigger than any storm that arises.  Because of Him, we can face today and all of our tomorrows knowing that He has us in His hand and ultimately we will see Him face to face and the trials of this world will be no more.  He promised and He always keeps His promises.  God bless. 

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