The other day, I reflected on when my son Shaun told me he wanted to join the Air Force. It was right after his high school graduation. Shaun has always done very well in school. Based on his grades and test scores, he had his pick of college opportunities. So, when he informed me of his decision to join the Air Force, honestly, I was less than pleased. I have great respect for our military. Many of my family members have proudly served. But this was different. It was my eighteen-year-old son who hated cleaning his room and still needed me to remind him to take out the trash. I never shared my personal feelings about Shaun’s choice with him because I did not want to discourage him. One of the things he did in order to help himself prepare for the military was to watch videos about boot camp. He watched intently and began to prepare a workout routine to help him achieve his fitness goals. As I was reflecting on these memories of my son and his preparation for his boot camp experience, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. As Christians, many of us have gone through a boot camp experience. In boot camp, the objective is to tear down in order to build back up. Have you ever felt like living for Christ has been more challenging than your previous life without Him? If I am going, to be honest, I certainly have. We are not alone in this kind of thinking. Remember when the children of Israel were angry with Moses and accused him of trying to kill them in the wilderness? Numbers 14:1-3 – “Then the whole congregation lifted up their voices and cried out, and that night the people wept. 2All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness! 3Why is the LORD bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will become plunder. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”
When we do not understand the plan of God and the way He is operating in our lives, we can become bitter and angry. We can feel like we are overlooked and forgotten about. Why doesn’t God help me? We ask. Doesn’t He see what I am going through? Does He even care? We lose sight of the fact that God is a faithful God. He promises never to leave us or forsake us. We often feel hurt, betrayed, and lose sight of the purpose in the pressure. Pressure can come from anywhere at any time. We feel stressed about our obligations regarding work, family, school, relationships, and so many other things. And now that we are currently living in a time of uncertainty due to the Coronavirus, our pressure and stress can seem even more overwhelming. We must remind ourselves through reading and meditation in the Word of God, that God not only hears us, but He also answers us.
James 1:2-4 states, “2) Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4)Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” This scripture helps us to view our pressures in a different way. We can count it as a blessing because it allows us to see our faith in God in action. It teaches us how to persevere in order to overcome obstacles and challenges in the future. Sometimes, we face pressure thinking about the trials that we may face in our futures. However, in Matthew 6:34 we are told, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.” What we can gain from this is that there is no point in dwelling in the unknown stress and pressures of the future- so just do not. One of the significant things I learned from my son Shaun as he was getting ready for his military service, was his preparation. As believers, we also are told to prepare ourselves. 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” We are aware that the enemy is always trying to figure out ways to attack us and make us feel defeated. 1 Peter 5:8 – “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” So, when we are feeling the pressures of life. we have to look at it from a different perspective. We must remember that God loves us and He has a plan for our lives. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”
Hard times can make it difficult to see God’s purpose especially when we only feel pain and grief. Many times, we don’t want to be reminded that God is working our difficulties for our good. However, if we practice living our lives with the mindset that God is working things out for us, we can have a smoother transition of accepting this truth in the hard places. Shaun served six years in the Air Force. He has prepared himself for a very bright future filled with hope and promise. Although I could not see it when he left home, it was the best choice for his path in life. We can all learn a very valuable lesson from Shaun’s experience and that lesson is that in the plan of God, there is always purpose in the pressure.