The Desert

Do you ever feel like everything in life is going against you?

In those moments, do you wonder if it’s God trying to tell you something, or if it’s just a rough patch in life?
I felt that way this weekend.
Saturday, we had to make the difficult decision to cancel our 1st FCA Jr. High overnight camp.  We had an amazing staff of coaches, great college students to be mentors, and amazing facilities.  But we only had 4 kids registered.  It was a challenging decision to make, but by itself, just one upsetting moment in life.
Then Sunday, I was due to speak at a school’s FCA group.  When I arrived, I found out I was the first one there, and the last.  Senior campout and graduation parties took priority, as is the case this time of year.  Again, it was somewhat disappointing, but by itself, just one bump in the road of life.
Then came Monday.  I get to mentor a 1st grade student at a local school, and Monday night was our big end-of-year banquet.  Mentors, mentees, and their families all gathered for a 50s style party in the school cafeteria.  My mentee said he, his sister and parents were going to be there.  But as 6pm came, the seats around me remained empty.  I kept looking toward the entrance, but no one was walking through that door.  By itself, it was just a momentary letdown.
But when you combine the three days, in back-to-back-to-back form, you begin to wonder.  At least I did.  “God, are you trying to tell me something?  If there a reason I feel like Job?  Is this weekend part of a cosmic battle between good and evil to see how I react?   Or is this just a rough patch in life that I need to trust in God and make my way through?
Those were my questions for the rest of Monday and most of Tuesday.  If God had a direct message for me, through these serious of unfortunate events, I was ready to hear it.  But if not, I would lower my head and walk through the valley, knowing He was still leading the way.
My answer has been a combo-platter of sorts.  I can draw some small individual lessons from these three disappointments.  But the bigger thing God is teaching me, is the same thing He taught the disciples some 2000 years ago in John 16.
I have pasted the entire text below and encourage you to read through it.  But here’s the short version.
Jesus was telling His disciples that He would not be with them forever.  He talked about how their belief in Him would turn into action.  They would move from being listeners and observers of Jesus, to doers of the Word.  They would become the ones who speak to the crowds and minister to the sick (physically sick and spiritually sick).  And the words he closes that message with are the same words I heard from Him Tuesday morning and have since read for myself.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)
So, when you feel like the world is against you, I encourage you to open up John 16.  He will get you though it and teach you a few important things along the way.