In my day-to-day encounters with people, I have noticed an uptick in the number of challenging situations people find themselves in. We began offering prayer at the conclusion of our worship services and every single time we have multiple people wait for prayer. And when they share a struggle or challenge, you have to believe there are ten others who didn’t have the courage to come forward for prayer.
It just seems like a pretty heavy time.
In my morning reading, I came across something Corrie ten Boom once said about surviving tough times. For those who haven’t heard of her, she was a Holocaust survivor who lost her sister and father to the death camps. After the war, she went on to have a powerful Christian witness. Here’s what I read:
“Look within and be depressed. Look without and be distressed. Look at Jesus and be at rest.”
When faced with difficult circumstances, we might be tempted to look inward — to recoil from the world and hope the challenge goes away. It doesn’t work. In fact, it often makes matters worse.
Just as devastating is to look at the world and grow disillusioned. “Things will never get better,” we might find ourselves saying. The reality is … we do live in a fallen world. We live in a world where people say harsh things, justice isn’t always served, and bad things happen to good people. Left to itself, that can be distressing.
But those aren’t the only two options. I wonder how many nights in the concentration camp did Corrie ten Boom have to remind herself that God was still with her. Even when it appeared he wasn’t.
Those who learn to “look to Jesus” aren’t necessarily taking their eyes off a painful reality. It’s not a call to retreat. In fact, it may well be a call to engage the darkness, to challenge the problem or problem maker. Rather than escaping, we find peace in the midst of the storm.