“When life changes to be harder, change yourself to be stronger. Our challenges are what mold us, refine us, and make us into all we were intended to become.” (Zig Ziglar)
Life does change. Challenges do come. And how quickly they can occur! Indeed the classic old hymn is right, “Time is filled with swift transition.”
We’ve all experienced it. That heart-rending phone call with a sobbing voice on the other end with tragic news. The results of a test and the Doctor’s unfavorable prognosis. The husband announces that he’s leaving to the shock of his wife and children. A close associate who betrays your trust. A once devoted friend who cowardly leaves when you need him the most.
How quickly we can descend from the mountain top to the valley. In the blink of an eye. In the time it takes for a vapor to vanish.
It was true in Jesus’ life as well. In the last week of His life He entered Jerusalem on Sunday to chants of “ Hosanna” from a cheering crowd. “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord,” they exclaimed. Yet by Friday the mob clamored for his death. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him,” they cried. In a week celebration had turned into crucifixion.
The disciples had been together following Jesus for over three years. The disciples came into Jerusalem together. On Thursday night the ate they Passover together. But by they had scattered. Judas had betrayed Him. Peter had denied Him. All had forsaken Him.
And Friday was a day of sadness. Sorrow. And defeat. Jesus was dead. The Cause was lost. The movement was over. Gloom filled the hearts of His followers.
But in three days everything changed! Again! Crucifixion would result in coronation. And Jesus would be crowned King!
The mob had been silenced. The critics quieted. The apostles sadness was turned to gladness. Death had become victory. Their dead Leader was alive again. The disciples banned together. The “lost” Cause was launched with a new vigor. And the disciples were fueled by a fire that burned within them and “turned the world upside down.”
The Psalmist was right. You don’t know what a day may bring forth! What’s happening in your life right now? Are you on the Mountain top? Or in the valley? Swiftly either can change in an instant. That’s life.
So, what we need is a bigger picture. A broader view. A deeper insight. Life is a mixture of good and bad. Joy and sorrow. Victory and defeat. And God in His time can use them all to mold us. And make us better.
During our greater joys, it’s tempting to think life will always be that way. And during our deepest sorrows it’s difficult to believe we can ever be happy again. But because we are caught “in the moment” our vision is limited.
The wise man reminds us that “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). Just like Jesus experienced the “highs” and “lows” of life, so will we. But because of Jesus’ death on Friday and His resurrection on Sunday, we have hope. Our Friday’s of defeat will ultimately result in Sunday’s victory. It’s hard to see it through tear filled eyes, but it is true.
And so in joy or in sorrow. Good times or bad. Remember this: Jesus experienced all the highs and lows that life brings. He knows how you feel. He felt it too. But He will provide the strength to mold you into what He wants you to become.
It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman