Am I going to live to see another sunrise? Covid caused me to ask that question. I am currently on day sixteen of symptoms. There have been several times over the past two weeks where I could not breathe or could not breathe well. Interesting thoughts occur at a time like this. Fear tries to take up residence in the heart and mind. But I decided I was having none of that because my life is held in the hands of Almighty God. He will determine the number of my breaths, and I do not have to fear since my heart belongs to Him. I entrust my life to Him—at this time and at all times.
For if I live, I live to the Lord; and if I die, I die to the Lord.
Therefore, whether I live or die, I am the Lord’s.1
I have heard this statement many times: “Life is what you make it.” This is a futile human attempt to make life look pretty. The underlying principle is that there is something that can be done about the lives we live. But sometimes, we just cannot change our lives no matter how much we try. What we can do is ask God to change them and change our perspectives of them. When we look at things through God’s eyes, with an eternal perspective, our views will surely change. We will no longer be blinded by what the enemy puts in front of us to keep us from seeing what God wants us to see. For example, Satan does not want us to see our blessings. He does not want us to praise God or serve God but instead wants us to turn our backs on Him in bitterness and anger. Satan also wants us to be so inwardly-focused that we do not help others in the name of Christ. But God wants us to see the blessings that He has made available for our lives and wants us to use them to bless others in turn. So, this is what we are presented with: two perspectives. Satan can blind us from what truly matters, and God can open our eyes to what truly matters. Whose vision are we going to trust?
Regardless of the states of our circumstances, it is here that we can seek out God’s joy, peace, and strength—even when we struggle, even when there is loss, even when we are overwhelmed. No matter what happens and no matter the trials and sorrows that we find ourselves involved in, our minds can be at ease and our hearts can be at rest. Even when we are rendered nearly helpless, we are never truly helpless, because we have the Helper. We can rest contentedly, knowing that we rest in His hands. We have cause to give thanks.
In addition to health issues, I deal with the normal things of life that everyone else does: financial issues, vehicle breakdowns, runaway dogs, complicated family relationships, the loss of loved ones, etc. There are also undesirable realities of life that I have to face. Things have not gone as I had planned. Things have not turned out the way I had envisioned. People have not treated me as I had hoped. There have been devastations and limitations. Essentially, my dreams are gone. I have been in the depths of despair—hurting, suffering, lonely, broken, disappointed, frustrated, angry, and dissatisfied. Yes, I have been all of these things and more. But even as much as I am limited in my life, I have cause to give thanks. God’s dreams for my life are so much better, and they are in the process of unfolding.
Over the years, I have had a perspective adjustment. I have come to the conclusion that if this is the road that God desires for me to walk—because through me He is achieving a great and eternal purpose—then I most definitely want to walk it, and walk it with gratitude. I have experiences, circumstances, and even a physical body that I never signed up for, but despite all this, I have a boundless treasure because I have God as my Father, Jesus Christ as my Savior, and the Holy Spirit as my Helper. God Almighty is on my side! And if He is for me, then absolutely no one can be against me!2
I have cause to give much thanks as I watch another sunrise.
1Based on Romans 14:8
2 Francee Strain, No Ordinary Invitation: Called to Live a Life of Eternal Purpose, (Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2017), 199–200.
©Original text and photo Francee Strain, August 14, 2021