The Choice

Yesterday, I wrote about not taking one day for granted when it comes to life and especially one’s loved ones.

Tonight, I am wrestling through something I am simply entitling, “The Choice.”

What do you do when the rug of your life is pulled out from under you? What do you do when you face heart-wrenching pain? What do you do when you face trials, heartache and loss? What do you do when you face suffering and injustice?

These are questions we all wrestle with at one time or another in our lives, often for great periods of time.

They are questions that have constantly haunted me this past year. Today, or rather I guess, yesterday, :) the Lord brought some clarity. It is a hard clarity to swallow, but then again, truth is always hard to swallow.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I’m a dreamer and a visionary. The dreams and aspirations that we have for BOJF and many other things are quite large. Certainly way beyond me and our team.
Secondly, I have always sought to honor the Lord through this ministry and anything else the Lord directs me to do.

Now, neither of those two things are bad, rather they are very good.
Yet, here is the hard clarity to swallow.

Do I love the dream and the work, or do I love the King?
Allow me to put it another way. Is my heart content in the King or in my dreams? Is my heart set on the King or my work? Do I love the Giver or the gift?
I’ve spoken before of holding my dreams with open hands, but the clarity is so much sharper tonight.

For losing my dearest friend a year ago today has woken me up to a startling, yet very true reality.

Nothing in my life is guaranteed.

I have good health today, but it could be gone tomorrow. BOJF is here today, but what about next year? I’m breathing right now, but who knows about my next breath?
My immediate family is alive and well, but all that could change overnight, could it not?
Looking around at my life, I am realizing that anything, anyone, everything and everyone could be stripped, taken away, removed, lost or disappear overnight.

In all of my life, there is only one constant that can never be taken from me and that constant is Jesus.
At the end of the day, He’s all I am guaranteed I will have, if I have another tomorrow.

Why do I labor at this point you might ask?
Simple, how often I have thought this past year, if only I hadn’t lost my best friend, if only BOJF was where I wanted it, if only…fill-in-the-blanks…

Somewhere along the line I’ve bought the lie that the Christian life is supposed to be free of pain, suffering and loss.
The Bible and the history of believers shows this to be bogus.
Pain, suffering and loss are the norm for every believer and actually, pain, suffering and loss are a part of life in general in a sin-cursed world.

I have yet to meet someone, who once I’ve gotten to know them, hasn’t experienced some deep pain, suffering or loss. It’s part of life in this broken world.

So what am I trying to point out?

Let me see if I can unravel my thoughts…

  • I have many dreams and aspirations.
  • Yet, none of my dreams, aspirations, or anything in my life for that matter, is guaranteed.
  • Jesus is the only constant in my life.
  • Pain, suffering and loss are a part of life in general in a sin-cursed world.
  • Therefore, if my hope and joy is set on any of my dreams or the people or things in my life, I am setting myself up for great danger.

What great danger you might say?

The danger of when and if of losing them, I will become utterly crushed and unable to press on, because my heart was set on them rather than Christ.

This is the choice I referenced at the beginning of this article.

Like it or not, we are all going to face great loss and pain in this life, especially as believers. This shouldn’t come as a shock to me, for Jesus promised me this, yet, I somehow still find it shocking.

The choice is this; when I face great loss, disappointment, betrayal, abandonment, pain, suffering, fill-in-the-word-of-difficulty-of-your-own-choice, is it going to crush me because my focus was on the wrong thing? If so, I will respond with bitterness, anger, despair, hopelessness, terror and my strength to press on will wane.
On the other hand, if my greatest joy is Jesus, when I face these times, I will radiate His peace, joy, strength, contentment and love.
Will it still hurt tremendously? Yes, it will. Following Jesus does not make me immune to human emotion, rather He gives me the strength and grace to properly filter it in the sight of eternity.

I never want to lose being a dreamer, but those dreams must be filtered through my satisfaction being in Jesus and Jesus alone.

Easy to say, but hard to live out, I can testify to this.

I ache and desire to be a man who presses on no matter the great pains I might and am facing in this life. I desire to be a man who is a shining example of Christ’s joy and peace in the storms of life.
Not so people will glorify my name, no, not by any means.
Rather, that they would desire what I have, the one constant, Jesus.

I desire to be a man who finds his satisfaction, worth and purpose in Jesus and Jesus alone. So when the crushing blows of life come, they don’t knock me out of the game. Rather, that they would be used to showcase the power and glory of God through this broken, clay vessel who is incredibly weak, but whose God is not.

Do I know what the Lord is doing through all of this?

No, I do not.

Yet, it all keeps circling back to this trust thing, does it not?
Trusting that the King of kings and Lord of lords knows what He’s doing in this messy world we live in, whether that is with a virus, the loss of your best friend, the direction of your film company, or whatever else you and I can fill-in-the-blanks with, we must trust Him.

Trust in Jesus is necessary and though scary for my human nature to do, I know there is no better place for my life and future to be than in the hands of King Jesus.
Better to die in His cause, than live in luxury anywhere else. He is worth our all!

And yes, I am REALLY looking forward to Heaven!

But until that day, may we as believers be found faithful, living for one, Jesus.
May He be enough and may our satisfaction be in Him.
May we enjoy His good gifts with grateful hearts and may those gifts always turn our hearts to praise and worship the Giver!

To God alone be the glory!