When the Road is Rough
We woke early on Saturday morning. We were working in the yard by 6 a.m. The call came about three hours later. Linda sent one of the girls to get me. I immediately knew something was wrong. The news was tragic, and I now had to pass that news on to my mom. The subtle, soothing chorus of the calm summer morning was quickly replaced with the wailing of a mother in mourning. The smooth road had just become very rough and would likely remain that way for several days and weeks ahead. How does one bring stability during the turbulence of life?
One strategy can be to lean on others. Others can be a source of strength and encouragement. Just as Mary and Martha were comforted by fellow Jews when Lazarus died, we too can be comforted by our fellow Christians in difficult times (John 11:18-20). The scriptures tell us, “Two are better than one…if either of them falls down, one can help the other up…A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Eccl. 4:9-12)
A second approach to getting through tough times is to let the great Comforter, comfort. Paul tells those at Corinth, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Isaiah (66:12-13) provides further insight by indicating that God cares for His people as a mother cares and comforts her children. God is the father of all compassion and all comfort. He comforts us in our troubles as a mother comforts her child (Luke 13:34). He is there to lift us and to help us heal. He, in turn, expects us to extend that same comfort and encouragement to those that are facing similar challenges. He comforts us so that we might in turn comfort others.
Lastly, we need to place our understanding of what is happening in a much larger context. God has a plan for each of us and for all of humanity. Things that happen on this earth are within that context. The purpose of that plan is for us to call on him. If we do, He will listen. If we seek Him, we will find Him. This is the context in which we should try to place our understanding (Jeremiah 29:10-13).
Job was a rich man who lost everything. After debating with God and his friends as to why this happened, Job concluded, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know” (Job 42:2-3).
Job recognized that his wrestling, his questioning, and his debating were futile. He realized that he lacked understanding even if he knew the answers. It is simply impossible for us to understand God’s plan. However, we do know that even in the valleys of life God continues to mold our hearts and minds, especially if we are seeking him.
When the road is rough and the way seems dim, our God knows and indeed He cares!
–C. J. Vires