A few years ago, we had a friend who was navigating through life. She was trying to finish school and establish a career. Her questions and worries were the same as anyone else’s would be…
- How am I going to do _____ ?
- What will happen when _____ happens?
- Why did I have to go through _____ ?
She wanted to make the right decisions, choose to be more like Jesus, and wanting life to change but like so many others we’ve encountered, she seemed to get tripped up on her past. She wanted to skip the hard stuff. She knew where she wanted to be, but the path to wholeness wasn’t just an easy fix. The road to reconciling her heart was rocky and hard.
Keri shared this:
It’s like a book we read to all the kids. All of them loved it. It’s called “We’re Going On a Bear Hunt,” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. The story is about a family that’s out to catch a bear. At each stage of the journey, they encounter an obstacle: rivers, mud, a dark forest, etc. Each time, one of them says, “We can’t go over it. We can’t go around it. We’ll have to go through it!”
Last week our friend reminded a bible study group of the words that Keri shared with her years ago: there are things that we just have to go through. Her life is full and rich. It’s not complete and certainly not filled with her wildest dreams come true, but she has found a peace in going through it.
You don’t go over it. You don’t go around it. You just go through it.
Going over something is like telling someone to just “get over it”. Not everyone can do that. And frankly, it’s dismissive. People are different and many times it’s a cop out to reduce a life event to a cliche.
Going around things is just avoiding the inevitable. Evading the challenges in our lives can eventually turn unhealthy. Everyone has “stuff” that must be addressed so the approach of going around situations isn’t always the best solution.
Going through it is just…well…life. None of us are perfect and the way we handle things isn’t either but, thanks be to God, there is grace. We can choose to go through life in community and find friends on the path. When it’s rough and rocky, cold and dark, you see that you aren’t alone. We just go through it together.
I pray you have someone (more than just one) that you can call on. (FYI, a little pastoral thought here…this is the design of the church: Sunday School classes, small groups. These are the people in the trenches with you!)
We bought our friend that children’s book last week. I pray it serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness in going through the stuff in our paths.
I pray you find the strength to go through the things of life with grace. And when you’ve failed at the graceful approach, just get back up and begin again.
Going through it with you.
‘Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever.’ – Psalm 146:5-6
Matt Hastings lives with his wife Keri and their five children in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He is the pastor of the Estill Springs Church of the Nazarene. [Editor’s Note: Matt has graciously allowed us to republish his weekly email devotionals on our site for our readers.]