When faced with adversity, man’s most natural and easiest reaction is to run – get rid of the unpleasant by quitting. We work our way through life and sometimes we don’t like what it has to offer us. Things happen unexpectedly. We are shattered deep in our hearts and we are often helpless. Family members die. We fight with loved ones. Co-workers misunderstand us and talk bad about us. Teachers discourage us to do better. We often struggle to make ends meet. Sometimes, we do not even have a name for our turmoil. The truth is, life is not always a Santa Clause – it is sometimes more like a Grinch that robs us of things we think we deserve. Then we feel deprived.
We run away. We quit jobs or school. We break relationships, close friendships. We relocate.
The question is: is running away the solution?
I’ve run away many times in my life. I have gone AWOL because I could no longer stand the work schedule. I’ve quit school because I decided to pursue a relationship (a bad one). Then I concluded I was a big time quitter.
But many times have I decided to stay despite of difficult circumstances - only since I allowed Jesus to be Lord of my life. Since then I recognized that my life is not my own and that He alone sees the big picture.
When I was in my second year in college, I was having some serious relational problem that made me want to quit school but God sent people and used the Bible to tell me not to. During my internship in a public high school, I also wanted to stop, but His word told me to keep going. It seemed to be the hardest thing to do at the moment but now, I am glad I obeyed. Had I really followed my own will in one of those times, I wonder where I’d be now.
Whenever I look back by remembering my past and reading through my journals, I realized how the Lord has been guiding me.
According to Charles Ringma, “Any change is never a permanent solution. Only change based on careful reflection should draw us to new places. This should be coupled with the recognition that no matter how difficult the new direction might be, it is the only path we should now walk. It is the inner certainty of the rightness of the new direction that will sustain us, not whether or not the familiar place was difficult and the new is going to be wonderful.”
The bottom line is: just because things are not going well with us at the moment does not mean that we have to run away from it. In every endeavour or journey, the first few days are the hardest. Our failures do not define our being – nor do they alter our identity. In fact, they will sharpen more the image we have of ourselves. Our decision, therefore should not be based on the difficulty of the situation, but on the word of the one who holds the map of our lives.
Jesus modelled well one of the hardest things to do in life – to wait. When mockingly asked by his brothers to perform miracles in the Festival of Shelters in Judea, Jesus replied by saying, “You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” (John 7:8)
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
The key is knowing God’s will because in it, we can rest easy. Often times, we short-circuit His beautiful plan for our lives when we run away from where we are now because of difficult circumstances.
Once we have the conviction that the difficulty comes from the Lord, we can be assured that He will give us the grace to not only survive it but come out a better person through it. A beautiful moth was not born beautiful. It was a caterpillar first that had to wait in a cocoon and struggle well out of it so when it’s ready, it can spread its beautiful wings and fly.