Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:31-33 MSG
Living in the country offers some breathtaking observations about the circle of life. Hawks perched on lofty branches high above the world below, quietly welcoming their next meal onto the dinner plate. White tail deer dash from one meal to another teaching their young the dangerous ways of the world. And then, circling across the sky, vultures waiting for carcasses to reach that certain level of ripening only a vulture can love.
Nature is instinctive and cares little about anything beyond mere survival. These creatures are magnificent, and perfectly created by God, but they lack those certain human characteristics only humans can have. While there are many cases of people acting like animals, contrary to many cute cartoons and movies, there are not many animals laying awake at night wondering why there is an aching in their soul.
But I have laid awake at night. And for a period of time I did not see that one of my biological mother’s greatest gifts to me was the gift of life. I no longer take this selfless decision lightly. She was sixteen and in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy. She was a straight A student on the academic team and only a junior in high school. While her choices were limited, she did have choices. She was sent to live at Catholic Charities during her final trimester and cared for the other babies waiting for her child to be born.
She chose to give me life. She also chose to put me up for adoption so that I could be raised by a couple who could give me more than she had to give. After I was born, she could not hold, feed, or see, her newborn baby girl. Her struggle was real, and the aching in her soul would shadow her both day and night for a good portion of her life.
As a child I imagined being in the arms of my mother with her caressing me with her touch, soothing my bumps and bruises. I admit the emptiness was real. Loneliness wrapped itself around me during the day and tucked me in at night. Even though I appreciated my adoptive parents, struggles with abandonment and rejection clung to me like a used dryer sheet. These struggles intensified during my teen years and the searching led to me to the wrong people, places and things. Naturally, mistakes were made, and the consequences of those actions were life altering.
Whether it is the day after Christmas, or just about any other day of the year, people can find themselves letdown and struggling. We are far from home and disappointments in this world can leave you feeling weakened and down. Sickness, death, loneliness, employment issues, being let down by others, all can have an impact on us. You may even begin to believe that the dark godlessness in the world is winning. It’s like satan is having his way in the world!
Do not believe the lie! We know who won!
One of God’s generals, Smith Wigglesworth said, “There is something about believing God that will cause Him to pass over a million people to get to you.
”When Jesus shined his light on my heart, it was a supernatural, unconditional, adoption. He was a perfect fit to the size nine hole in my heart! He held me in His arms and healed the aches and stresses saturating this earthly life. He washed away my past with His blood and built a new bridge to my future. This new life was freely given, and the greatest of all gifts! Our personal struggles may all look different, but He is the only answer for all our questions!
“The power of God will take you out of your own plans and put you into the plan of God.” Smith Wigglesworth
An unwed pregnancy in Mary’s time could mean expulsion, banishment, or even death, but rather than live fearful, she chose to be faithful to God and His plan for the world. Praise God she chose to be obedient and gave birth to the Savior of the world.
“The child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40We are all His children placed here for His purposes. How we unwrap our circumstance shows the world the value we place on our gift. In John 16 the disciples initially were fearful, but we know they grew to become faithful. This scripture is powerfully reassuring, promising “you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace,” when trusting in Jesus.
While writing today, a tiny little bird flew down and hid beneath my husband’s truck. He hopped, fretted, and turned his head from side to side, nervous in his surroundings. He stayed hidden till he felt the coast was clear. I can live like that little bird and choose to fret and stew over this problem or that situation, or I can be thankful in all my circumstances and enjoy the gift of eternal life made possible by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Isaiah 40:31 reminds us of who we are in Him, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” NLT