Like many of us, I have been tempted to dark and heavy thoughts in my life: thoughts of self-pity and being unhappy with my circumstances. But, I have also found that God and His Word are true for my life.
God has given me so many things. I have a good job, a good place to stay and good friends. I have so many things to be thankful for.
Tempted to worry
But I live in a place where it’s often cold, and the sky is grey. Sometimes, it feels like it presses down on me along with all the other pressures in my life - the bills I have to pay, rough days at work, and all kinds of other worries. It’s amazing how many things there are that I think should be different: the weather should be different, I should have a better job, and why am I still single? It’s easy to feel sad and unhappy.
But there’s good news! When I get these heavy thoughts about my life, and when I think life should be different than it is, I don’t have to give in to those thoughts. First of all, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I have given my life to God—all of it. And what do I get in return? Everything. I have no reason to worry.
Jesus has said to us, “My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:30 (NLT). Earlier, He says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NLT). When I seek God above all else, He will make sure that I have what I need for my life and my spiritual development.
Of course, this is not a natural way to think. It is natural to complain, to think that God maybe got things wrong and that my life should be different. I have to fight against what my body and my feelings want to do, and sometimes it is really difficult. I have to pray again and again, “God, help me to be faithful! Help me to be thankful for everything!”
And then I need to simply believe and obey God’s commandment where it says, “Don’t worry about anything!” Philippians 4:6 (NLT). If I believe that God wants the best for me on good days, isn’t it just as true on bad days?
God knows what I need
I never need to give in to those dark and heavy feelings of self-pity, of unhappiness. So many people are troubled by these things, but I don’t have to be. Why? Because I believe that my life does not end when I die, but that I will live again, in heaven. I believe that life here is a time of training for eternity - that I am being prepared for heaven. Each time I, by the Holy Spirit’s help and power, say No to those feelings of worry and unrest, I am one step closer to being free from them forever. And what I have found is a deep and true thankfulness in my heart for everything.
It might sound strange, but circumstances that seem heavy and unfair have caused me to thank God, because I can see that they really are for my best.
God knows what I need and I can testify of this: If you give everything to God, He will give you everything in return. It might not be everything that you want, but it will be everything you need. This life that I’m living as a disciple of Jesus makes me happier than I can explain with words. It’s a real, true joy to live this way.