How do we deal with the challenges of life? It seems like a lot of us have just grown up believing that life is tough and you endure through it and then you die and that's it. But I really believe that whilst there are challenging circumstances and life can be really tough at times, we don't have to suffer through things like the world suffers. We don't have to just endure life. We can enjoy life. We live in a society which has shaped us and even church has shaped us, to go with the flow in dealing with challenging circumstances, whether it's a loss of a loved one, or whether it’s just pressures of life. When things are bad, you can feel sad. When things are great, you can rejoice, you know, if the going is tough, then you can crawl under a rock and cry. It's okay. They have trained us to just go with the feelings and indulgent them. And you know, I really believe that's a recipe for disaster. It's not wrong in that God doesn't get angry with you if you get upset or if you get sad or if you have a down day – he loves you just the way you are, and he'll meet you where you're at and he will help you get from where you are to where you need to be. You don't have to try and perform for God – just be where you're at. Don't try and appear to be further along the path of maturity than you already are. Don't, don't present yourself as a certain place of maturity when you're not there just yet. Be Real with God. But you don't have to fall apart when life is tough. You don't have to indulge in the emotions of the moment. A lot of people think, you know, when, when someone dies, you have to indulge in the grief. You have to fall apart. You're never gonna see them again. And you have, the Bible which clearly says that we don't mourn like the world mourns. Whether that's morning over the loss of a loved one, whether that's morning over a tragedy or something like this, we don't have to mourn like the world mourns because, praise God, this life is not all that there is.
A close friend of mine passed away a few years back and it was difficult for me. But my first response and reaction was “thank God that this life is not all that there is.” That friend of mine closed their eyes in this life and opened them in eternity. And we prayed for him to be raised from the dead but nothing happened. And you know what? I still believe in the miracle working power of God. I believe that God's word is true, and I believe that miracles happen. I've seen miracles since then. The point is that when it doesn't happen, I don’t fall apart and question God, it reaffirms my commitment to the word that God’s word is true and anything contrary is a lie. We've just got to value the word, what God says above our experience, above our feelings, above what's happening around us.
Philippians 4 is a great passage and I want to read from the King James. It says in verse four, rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice. It's saying rejoice in the Lord always. The book of Philippians is the most joy filled book in the New Testament. Paul is writing it from prison. How many of us would be able to be full of joy, be full of encouragement and writing encouraging letters to other people while we're in prison? Now, very few of us are able to rejoice because we are looking at our circumstances and we're negative about it. Paul is encouraged, he's fired up and he's writing from prison to say, rejoice in the Lord. Always. Your circumstances might not be worse rejoicing in, but you can always rejoice in the Lord. There's always a re a reason to rejoice in God. I mean, if you just think about eternity and salvation and how in 10,000 years from now, you're going to be with him forever. And whatever challenges you're facing right now, if you put them into perspective in lots of eternity in 10,000 years time, you're not going to worry about whatever tragedy you're going through now because you're going to be celebrating with Jesus and eternity.
And sometimes that's the only way to overcome challenging circumstances in this life. Because you know, there will be challenges, there will be difficulties. And just because you're a Christian doesn't mean that they're just going to fade away. Sometimes they don't fade away. But the point is you can still be full of joy no matter what happens around you, no matter what happens to you, and no matter what's going on in the lives of those around you. Instead, as the scripture goes on, you can rather turn to God and talk to him, pray and you know, and that's where we will pick it up next time. But I want to leave you just with this amazing thought that you can rejoice in all times, at all seasons. You might just need to put things into perspective. You might just have to focus on only what you've got in Christ and, and what he has done for you, spiritually speaking. If you've got nothing to rejoice in the physical realm and in the natural realm, just rejoice in the spiritual realm. But you've got a reason to rejoice. If you know anything about the Gospel, the good news of what Jesus has done for you.