*Note: The original idea was written in February 2010, and revised in November 2011. In the interest of full-disclosure, it’s been edited a bit to be relevant now (November) – some things were taken out. They just didn’t seem relevant anymore – feelings have changed, etc. etc.

On the way home from work today (well now yesterday) I was heading north on 95.. before reaching the tunnel I noticed, for the first time, a massive building under construction that appeared to be in front of the 1st Mariner Bank tower in Canton. I thought to myself, “how could I NOT have noticed this large of a building being constructed all the times I’ve traveled this road recently?!” For a quarter mile until the tunnel I kept glancing over to this structure – just completely bewildered by its existence. Could it have been some huge push to get the building done quickly? Did they hire an army of people to build this thing in a week?! Couldn’t be. No way.

As I hit traffic at the tunnel entrance, and subsequently crawled through the tunnel, I kind of forgot about it. When I finally made it out of the tunnel and through the toll plaza I gave a quick glance back towards the 1st Mariner Bank tower.

The building that I previously saw in front of the tower was gone!!!!!! What. the. heck?!

A good minute went by full of glances and gears turning in my head.

I felt stupid. This was stupid. I felt foolish. It was foolish to not realize that I was simply looking at this building from a different perspective. I was perfectly positioned to see that big building in front of the bank tower. (This building is actually 2 miles away near the new Legg Mason building in Harbor East). But the angle was perfect! Perfect enough for me to not see reality.

This got me thinking about life… and how a lot of life is about putting things in perspective. And I guess looking at things with a different angle.

What am I worrying about?

It seems like life has blasted it’s lessons at me like a fire hose the past 2 years. Between multiple health issues, loss of a job, maintaining a relationship, having a severely broken heart, living on my own, bills, cars, job. You don’t know how you’re going to handle life until you really experience – and I don’t claim to have experienced the worst of it yet – or be some expert of lifes struggles.

Maybe I need to let go of the reigns a little and continue to let God show me his plans (Philippians 2:13).

The thing is, sure, I realize that I don’t have it nearly as bad as others – my life is actually pretty good on the surface… and maybe my “problems” are pretty trivial compared to so many others… That’s great and all but it’s of course hard to listen to this and accept it as things are happening to you. Everyone struggles differently and responds differently – not necessarily a bad thing.

So where do you draw the line about being thankful for what you have – (OR don’t have) and putting into perspective the problems of the world compared to yours?

My perspective is realizing I’m a messed up person who deserves way worse than I have it… I’m grateful for the mercy and grace of my Creator to still provide me with the life I have – the Savior that took the burden of my sins, my junk… I’m reliant on God to help me through things — while still realizing that things aren’t just going to be handed to me and I have to actually listen to His Will and act on it.

I never ever want to wallow in my circumstances enough that I forget, take for granted, or not tell others the peace and reward that comes from having a relationship with Jesus – both the peace here on earth in the circumstances I’m found in and the peace that comes from knowing my place is set for eternity in heaven. (Philippians 3:20)

Life isn’t easy – for anyone. Jesus never promised that. But He did promise he’d have our backs when we’re lost. I can’t imagine dodging all the obstacles of life without help, hope, and a Light at the end of the road. The Christian life of Faith provides joy and peace – a way out – in a broken world that never seems to give us a break and is constantly grabbing for our attention.

John 16:33 says, “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.”

This world is not our home.. We may never get that AH-HA moment here on earth. Our truest joy and understanding will be experienced when we leave this world and join our Father in heaven for eternity. As difficult as that may be, that’s where I put my hope.

Some verses that I’ve found comfort in:

  • Psalm 27:13-14: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
  • 1 Peter 5:10: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
  • 2 Corinthians 1:8-9: “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”
  • Psalm 119:71: “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”
  • James 1:4 (& 2-8): “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Some positive songs I’ve found comfort in:

David Crowder Band – Shadows

When shadows fall on us
We will not fear
We will remember
When darkness falls on us
We will not fear
We will remember
When all seems lost
When we’re thrown and we’re tossed
We’ll remember the cost
We’re resting in the shadow of the cross

Ashes Remain – Right Here

I will show you the way back home
never leave you all alone
I will stay until the morning comes
I’ll show you how to live again
and heal the brokenness within
Let me love you when you come undone

Chris August – Starry Night

From the autumn leaves, that will ride the breeze
To the Faith it takes, to pray and sing
From the Painted sky, to my plank filled eye
He is God of all, He is everything

Gungor – Beautiful Things

Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You
You make me new, You are making me new

Tenth Avenue North – Times

In times of confusion
In chaos and pain
I’m there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame
I’m there through your heart-ache
I’m there in the storm
My love I will keep you by my power alone
I don’t care where you’ve fallen or where you have been
I’ll never forsake you
My love never ends
It never ends

Tenth Avenue North – Hold My Heart

So many questions without answers your promises remain
I can’t see but I’ll take my chances to hear you call my name
To hear you call my name

These are just good reminders that you’re not going through this alone, and although you may not understand why things are happening right now, there is a Father who wants the best for us and knows this is what you need and will pull you through – in His time – if you release the reigns, listen, have Faith, and then act.