If you are like me, I am pretty sure that life has not turned out like you thought it would. When we were young, we were full of hopes and dreams – we had experienced so little of life that the blank slate ahead of us seemed pretty promising.
Then life hit. There were some good things, there were some tragic things. And a whole lot of in-between. But somewhere along the way, something happened to us, and we just kind of shifted into drudgery mode and drifted through the years like some lost ship.
What happened to our dreams? To our plans? What happened to what we thought we would be? What happened to what we wanted to do with our lives? How did we get here – to this place where we just seem to be stuck in autopilot? If you are like me, you come to this troubling realization that your best years seem to be behind you, and now you are just kind of riding this thing out until that day when people stand over you and say things about you that you only wish were true.
Like me, you have probably discovered, that it is the nature of this world to do everything possible to beat us into submission. Difficulties seem to haunt us at every turn. We start out running the race, but end up crawling on our knees through all our broken dreams and shattered promises.
We would really like to blame someone for our struggles, but when we are brutally honest, we realize that we have only ourselves to blame. No matter what has happened to us, in the course of our lives, we all had a choice about HOW we would respond to the events and circumstances of our lives. Each and every day IS a new day, and we have a choice about how we will live it.
Here is the thing… We all make mistakes, we all have regrets. We wish we were stronger, braver, more sympathetic, more forgiving, more patient, and on and on. The sum of our lives often doesn’t add up to victory – and we really wonder, sometimes, if any of it matters at all. None of us started out to live an unremarkable life – but it sure seems as if that is our destiny.
But there really is hope for us. Even in the midst of the distressing evaluation of our lives.
I just want to remind us that there are two simple truths that we can apply to our lives, daily. These two truths can, and will, change everything – and restore our hope in the midst of our hopeless feelings. If we will start each new day, living by these truths, we will discover that our past does not define us – only our todays will defines us (from this moment forward!). And if we will live in the promise of today, being the person we desire to be – we will find that each and every day, lived this way, will add up to something remarkable. Let’s try it and see…
First, we must live in the fact that each day is a new day – and if we will turn this day over to God (like we really should every day) we will discover an amazing thing: He is actually for us. Somehow, we have adopted a picture of God that He is constantly mad at us, because we are such “screw-ups,” and He just longs to make our lives miserable. This is NOT the God of the Bible (this is some false god we have made up in our own minds [probably because this is the kind of god we think we deserve!]). But here is the description of the real God of the Bible: “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT) This means that God’s desire is to show His goodness and His faithfulness to you and me. And His every desire is to do this each and every day!
It just doesn’t matter that your whole life has been one big catastrophe of failure (is anyone really that bad?!) Today is a new day. And if we will turn our hearts to God, He will apply His abundant mercy (and infinite love) to our lives… Today! I could tell you I understand how God can be this way, but that wouldn’t be honest. None of us really understands how God can truly see us for just what we are, and still WANT to show us His amazing love. The really shocking thing is that He is eagerly willing to look beyond all our flaws and failures and meet us with His love every morning. We just have to seek Him out…
Second, we have the promise of Jesus. He plainly told us: “In the world you will have tribulation (a fancy word for real, daily trouble!)…”
“Don’t we know it,” we say, “Tell us something we don’t know!”
So He did… “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Here is the really cool thing about believing in Jesus: We get to share in Who He is and what He has done. Jesus faced real life, just like all of us face it, and He beat it. He won! Now, we can share in His victory – each and every day that we apply His victory to our lives. Whenever we turn our thoughts away from our mistakes, and our troubles, and fix our eyes upon Him, we find that His victory instills hope and joy back into our lives. Every time!
We may be down, but we are not out. We may be struggling, but we are not defeated. Our solution is just two steps away: 1) Begin each day anew with God; 2) Live today, in Jesus’ victory.
Sometimes we all need to hear this good news… If you are still breathing, your life is not over. You may feel you have missed your life’s purpose. You may feel you have wasted every opportunity that has come your way. You may feel like you are nothing short of being a failure (in most every area of your life). And… you certainly can continue to feel that way all the rest of your days…
OR… you can take God’s promises to heart: that each day is a new beginning, a new start, and you can turn your heart to Jesus – Who can take your brokenness and change it into something victorious and beautiful – something that matters, something that rises above…
And that is the kind of life that is worth living!