But there is another urgency before me now. I feel compelled to go to Jerusalem. I’m completely in the dark about what will happen when I get there. I do know that it won’t be any picnic, for the Holy Spirit has let me know repeatedly and clearly that there are hard times and imprisonment ahead. But that matters little. What matters most to me is to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God. (Acts 20:24)
I have days when life seems less like a 'picnic' and more like a 'disaster' - how about you? If we go through life expecting only the 'picnic days', we will find ourselves living in a dreamland and not in reality. Life comes complete with the ups and downs - we have little to no control over most of them. What we do control is our response to those 'non-picnic days'. When we choose to sail through what others would treat as something to avoid at all cost, we might just be surprised at how much the 'disasters' turn into enjoyable days in the end. Lest you think me a little 'Polly-anna' here, I am far from a 'Polly-anna'. I am not cheerfully optimistic when the troubles come into my life. In fact, I have to admit I like to complain about them a little because it seems to do me some good to get that off my chest. I have to weigh my complaints carefully, though. I don't want them turning into an attitude of 'woe is me'. I acknowledge my frustration with the disaster ahead, but I don't dwell in the frustration. I think that is the first thing we have to keep in mind if we want to face the disaster head-on.
It probably goes without saying, but God doesn't want us to dwell in those moments of disappointment, frustration, or fear. Why? There are negative feelings associated with those, that if listened to and indulged for too long will create an atmosphere for anger and bitterness to take root within us. It is one thing to admit we are not 'liking' what we are going through - it is another to begin to dwell in that attitude for a long, long time. Just as with the Apostle Paul, we are oftentimes 'completely in the dark' as to the reason for the 'disaster', much less the potential outcome of it! When 'in the dark', I usually like to ask for a little light. I think my moment or two of complaint is really an acknowledgement that I don't understand what to do or what is being done. I am 'in the dark' and it is an uncomfortable place to be. Why? I like to have some sense of 'control' over what comes my way. Okay, I admit it - I have 'control issues'. When the shutters are tightly closed and we cannot see what is ahead, it is hard to move into the darkness, isn't it? Worse yet, we might just know what is 'ahead' is not really going to be any form of a 'picnic'.
Can we stop for a moment to just acknowledge these times WILL come? We cannot hold them off, can we? We can influence how we get through them, though. It might require us to acknowledge we are feeling less control than we desire, or that we don't like what we are 'feeling' about the circumstances. We don't have to deny those feelings - we just don't want to dwell in them. We want to get them out there, allow God to help us work through them until we find peace once again, and then we might just begin to see how the present 'disaster' is really not a 'picnic', but he is moving all around us to work good out of what appears very bad to us right now. Just sayin!