Today, I want to address something that has been weighing on my heart for some time – L I F E. There is a Latin phrase, “Nascimur et nati morimur” which means “We are born and having been born we are dying.” Said another way “We begin to die as soon as we are born, and the end is linked to the beginning.” This is said in a little different way in Ecclesiastes 7:1“A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.” NASU Truthfully, we all know that in our mortal flesh none of us will live forever and there will come a day when we cease to “live” in these mortal bodies. The Bible, at least for the believer, refers to this as “sleep”, because it is transitioning from this life to the after-life or eternity. So, there is a process that begins when we discover this world through being born (naturally) and continues until we die (naturally). We call that process L I F E.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had people ask me questions such as, “Why did God allow this or that to happen?” and “Why do bad things happen to good people?” To me, those are the wrong questions. It is a classic distortion of L I F E by the enemy of our souls, in an attempt to affix blame for anything bad, negative, difficult, or uncomfortable to God. This is not new, we saw it in the Garden of Eden, and based on Isaiah’s writings he used it to persuade one-third of the angels to follow him in rebellion. Yet, tragically many fall victim to this and either blame God for life’s difficulties or become self-deprecating and blame themselves allowing guilt, shame, and a sense of worthlessness to become a prevailing mind-set in their lives. This not only makes life more difficult, it allows the individual to fail to rise above the fray and “become” what God intends for them. To use the Army’s phrase, “Be all you can be!”

The apostle Paul addressed this in Romans 8:28 – “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” NASU I’ve faced the unenviable task of consoling a mother over the death of her daughter and four grandchildren. I stood there speechless as she beat me in the chest, crying uncontrollably yelling, “Why preacher? Why?” I’ve stood by parents who lost a child in an automobile accident due to being hit by an intoxicated driver and heard them question what they had done to bring this about. I’ve stayed up all night with a husband whose wife left him for another man and took their three small children without giving him any explanation. I’ve worked with people who lost everything in a fire, tornado, or flood and saw in their eyes the myriad of questions, concerns, and fears. Yes, sometimes we do things that open the door to disastrous events transpiring in our lives. Yet, there are times when it was not our doing that created the situation, and to blame ourselves or God is the wrong path to follow. God never promised us that life would be without problems. In fact Job said,“Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. 2 He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue.” Job 14:1-2 NKJV You see, LIFE is not without its problems, pitfalls, and difficulties. The question is not why, but what do we do now? We are in the process of being transformed into His image and learning to fully trust Him in everything. I really don’t think any of us are there yet, and with the apostle Paul I say: “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” Philippians 3:14-16 NKJV

God gave me a way of understanding this process a number of years ago, and it has provided me comfort in some very difficult times. I needed it when the surgeon came to me as I was waking up in my room after parathyroid surgery and said, “I’m sorry, I was wrong the tumor is malignant and we had to go back in and remove more tissue and we hope we got it all.” I needed it when my urologist advised me that what he saw via the scope was a bladder tumor that he’d seen hundreds of times and he had no doubt it was malignant. I have needed it on more occasions that I care to remember, but drew an immeasurable amount strength from it then and now, frequently. I rest in the comfort of His promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9“…My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness…” NKJV

How God helped me reconcile L I F E is as follows: It’s like baking a chocolate cake from scratch. The multiple and varied ingredients are events, decisions, encounters, and happenings in life. Most of them, standing alone are not good. I don’t know about you but the thought of a bowl of flour is not appealing to me. You may consider raw eggs good (but not me). A spoonful of baking soda, a measure of salt (by itself), the bitter chocolate used for baking or even a cup or two of sugar are not things that cause my palate to become inspired. The only ingredient that I could handle as a stand-alone item would be the milk and truly it is not good for you from a health standpoint. Those things represent L I F E. Obviously in baking a cake you amass all the ingredients and then begin, but in L I F E they come one by one most of the time and usually over long periods of time, but they come. Once you have the ingredients you put them into a mixing bowl, (L I F E) and blend, mix, beat, until those individual ingredients are no longer identifiable as separate items but are now the makings of a chocolate cake. L I F E usually provides us with times when we must endure being beaten to a pulp, but each new ingredient once it is fully blended into our lives, helps move us toward becoming the finished product that God has in mind. If it stopped there it would be difficult enough but it doesn’t. Once you have blended the mix for the cake you pour it into a pan, turn up the heat in the oven and cook it. Sometimes, you feel as though you have gone as far as you can go and cannot possibly stand anything else only to find that God allows you to enter the oven of life where the heat is turned up. That is a necessary part of the process because unless that step transpires you will NEVER have a chocolate cake. Simply, you will never become His design for your life. It’s part of the process! It’s not fair! It’s not fun! Most of it is far from desirable in the individual steps, but when you understand where it is taking you, there can be rejoicing because you will BECOME as John declared in 1 John 4:17“…as He is, so are we in this world.” NKJV This is illustrated in 2 Corinthians 3:15-18“But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” NKJV

Therefore, I encourage you, do not despair but realize God has not lost control? He will guide us in this process called LIFE. He will guide us in this troubled world. He will NEVER leave us nor will He every FORSAKE us, so instead of despair, lift up your eyes to the heavens and your heart to His spirit and REJOICE! No matter how difficult L I F E becomes, think about that chocolate cake you are becoming! IF you have allowed yourself to make wrong decisions, committed sin, resisted His grace REPENT but DO NOT QUIT! If you find that some of the things have come upon you because of your error, don’t quit, don’t beat yourself to a pulp, cry out to Him in repentance and allow the work of the Holy Spirit to “transform” you into what He desires that you become. It’s like the words of a country song where a man gives his wife a message from God saying, “Please be patient, I’m a work in progress.” We all are, and one day we will see Him face to face and behold Him knowing it was worth it all.

This country may cease to exist as we know it. We may find ourselves virtual scavengers trying to find food, shelter, and clothing but HE WILL NOT FAIL. No matter what, DO NOT GIVE UP! Your miracle is just a heartbeat away! L I F E is difficult but what we are now living in the present world is TEMPORARY!

Thank you for indulging me as I have shared my heart and it is my prayer that this will be a blessing to you and if you desire to share it with someone else please feel free to do so. My sincere prayer is “May God bless you and keep you, make His face to shine upon you, be gracious unto you, and give you peace!”

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