I wrote this devotional for HomeWord a couple of years ago…I was looking over some old files and contemplating whether to delete them from my computer and I hung out on these words for a bit. They still ring true for me…what about you?
“Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all. Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins…may integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.”—Psalm 25:16-21
The other day, I woke up with a bad cold and an even worse mood. I don’t like having a cold. It makes me feel lethargic and it saps my initiative. Since I wasn’t feeling too well, I laid around and watched one of my favorite musicals that just came out on DVD: The Phantom of the Opera. This operetta is deep, tragic and full of real life. I was talking with my wife after we watched the movie together, sharing with her the fact that movies or plays with unhappy endings are usually the ones we remember the most. I went through a whole laundry list of shows that we had seen together to prove my point. I noted Saving Private Ryan, Romeo and Juliet, Gladiator, The Patriot, Revenge of the Sith, and Braveheart (just to name a few). In every one of those movies, it is the same story of the reality and struggle of human existence. There is something about those types of artistic expressions that simply feels right.
Have you ever wondered why? It is because that is the way life is. Not every human story has a happy ending, what current culture wants us to believe. Our culture teaches that if you have the right system, laws, or technology, you can assure your own happy ending. Television and movies give us the impression that any and all human dilemmas are only 30 to 90 minutes from the happy ending they were meant to have. Many people have bought into the lie that happy endings are what every human being is entitled to live. Improvement, happiness, material blessings, easy living and progress are things God owes us. Unfortunately, this is the reason why much of modern culture is failing us: it is just NOT real. What is real is unpredictability…struggle and pain…brokenness and desperation…sometimes joy and sometimes weariness.
In a life of unpredictability, what can we count on? Jesus. As we journey through this life, Jesus is the only ONE upon whom we can surely bank. He and His Kingdom provide the only hope that can transform the shattered dreams and broken lives that accompany most of what we call “living.” Remember, Jesus understands what our lives are like. He could have spent his time on earth selling a new product that would have cured all of life’s problems, but He didn’t. Instead, he spent much of his time hanging out with people whose lives were complete messes – lives that look a lot like yours and mine. Why? He knew that what matters most wasn’t creating a happy ending in this life, but rather, the transformation of peoples’ souls in the midst of their struggles. Today, He’s still working that same plan. Now, that’s something I can buy into! How about you?