Hopping off a docked boat, getting out of a parked car, climbing off a Ferris wheel. We've all been there. Looking for a place to stand.
Stepping in a mud puddle, sliding down a slippery slope, getting up after a fall. There are many ways we lose our footing.
How about the times we lose our footing in life? Where do we stand then? How do we know? What helps when life's hurts come crashing down in such powerful ways we aren't sure we'll ever stand again?
These are great questions. I've lived them and watched countless others live them too. Oh, and how we try to find our footing. How we try to find a place to stand firm. We try it all.
Alcohol, friendships, family, drugs, money, success, busyness, business, romance, sex, alternative lifestyles, affairs, spending, shopping, control, isolation, hiding, deceit, denial, running away, running period. There are oodles of ways we try to pick ourselves back up, whether we realize we are doing it or not.
I know friend. I have tried some of them myself. Find the next thing to stand firm on or, at the very least, to ease the pain. I'm here to tell you none of them work. I know because they haven't worked for me or anyone I've ever counseled.
There is one thing that has worked time and time again. It's not some form of psychological theory, some get rich quick scheme, new surroundings, a love affair, or even some magic to do list or a five step formula to a better life.
There's nothing wrong with self help and betterment. But you see, we simply can't do it alone. Stand firm. Create a permanently, better life. Life is hard. Firm "muddies" up. We need something bigger than ourselves. That something bigger is Jesus.
Jesus is the answer to every ill, every problem, every sickness, and every hole in your heart. He's your stand firm and he certainly is mine. He's the only thing that helped me move forward after a series of devastating losses as a teenager.
He's the only answer to my pain when my father's whole side of the family was wiped away. GONE PERMANENTLY. Grandma, grandpa, and daddy all by the time I was 18.
Heck, grandma was dying from a brain tumor as I was leaving middle school and Grandpa died a year later "in his sleep". Daddy, their only child, dead from lung cancer, which ravaged him in a matter of months from the time of diagnosis. (Three and a half to be exact). All gone, all deeply loved.
These aren't stand firm places because there isn't anywhere to stand.
Like bookends, the loss of my grandpa and father marked my highschool years. One the beginning, the other the end. Who knows how to do that? No one. That's the point.
Life can be so amazingly beautiful and, at the same time, so devastatingly painful. We need some way to navigate it. The paradox of beauty and pain. We all do. Marriages end, families end, friendships end, jobs end, lives end. It all ends. Not Jesus.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow. He isn't forcing his way on anyone, yet, he does gently beckon us to himself. He said very clearly, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, NO ONE comes to the father except thru me." John 14:6
That's it, that's all, period. If this isn't true, then the whole Bible is a lie, but, if it is, then an eternity of standing firm awaits those who believe. What's a sane reason not to believe? The risk is not worth it to me. Risking an eternity of standing firm for a maybe it isn't true?
Yet, if you don't believe, how about trying Jesus for a month? Read about him, put into practice what he advises. What's the worst thing that can happen?
Having a place to stand firm? Living life from a place of love? Yeah, this Jesus thing, it's all gain. The way I see it, there's nothing to lose that's worth having. Nothing matters more than forever and our loved ones FOREVER being with us.
Which brings me to my pa, g-ma, and g-pa. Otherwise known as gracious John, Rere, and Pop pop. All three of them believed in Jesus so I get to see them again. I failed to mention while all things end, all things in Christ only end for a while. So, it wasn't goodbye Daddy, Rere, Pop pop. It was until we meet again.
Meanwhile, I got Jesus. I'm riding shotgun while he drives. What a ride it is.