The good and the bad…
Any Way it Comes!
July 25th, 2019
Into every life a little rain must fall. Or more accurately, “Into each life some rain must fall”. The quote is from a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called, “The Rainy Day.”
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast
And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1842
I remember my mom and dad saying this whenever something less than pleasant would befall them.
They would simply shrug it off and go on about their business as if it were nothing. “Water under the bridge”, my dad would say.
I guess his philosophy was if you were moving at a rate of optimum capability and something came off the rails, it would be fruitless to exceed ‘optimum’ capability and push that much harder to compensate for what was lost.
Paul wrote about dealing with what you have gotten, rather than altering priorities to attain that which we’ve lost along the way.
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
Philippians 4:12 (NLT)
He doesn’t say when you have little to work harder, put in more hours, take a second or third job.
Paul in fact, was underscoring something that is shared between apostles. It is apparent that they took their cue from Jesus when he talked about the flowers of the field and the birds of the air.
“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?”
Matthew 6:26-30 (NLT)
He was teaching them of the futility of being preoccupied with worldly pursuits and to trust God for his providence and provision in their lives.
An extension to this thinking comes from James…
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
James 1:2-8 (NLT)
Obviously, James isn’t saying when the good times roll be sad, but he is saying something similar to what Paul is telling us, it doesn’t matter what comes upon us, good or bad in our estimation, we should be persistent in joy over the opportunity to thank God for what He has done, or what He is about to do with this opportunity before us.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
Really? An opportunity for great joy? Not really what you might think of when a wall of impossibility looms before you, is it?
There are two sides of this.
When things go our way then we have the Lord to thank for that.
When things go in the opposite direction then we have an opportunity to witness what God is going to do to make the most of this situation, no matter how difficult or dire it is.
Placing our faith and trust in Him during those periods of doubt builds our endurance and where does endurance get us? “You will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
Don’t need a thing when we have Jesus, because if we really are trusting him then we have surrendered our will to His. When we come through this fire, we come out the other side much purer of heart and ready for the next challenge.
So what James is saying ties back to what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
Whatever it is, let it come. With our faith vested in the Grace of Jesus and His willingness to see to our needs, we have no excuse to worry, or to compensate. Not if we have earnest trust!
Be thankful in all circumstances. Because this is the will of Christ Jesus in you. His will in me.
“Any Way it Comes!”, He’s got us, and he has this too!
In the Grace of Jesus!