Frustrating, isn’t it, how we can have good days and bad days.
Good and bad, that is, regarding faith.
One day we can be so strong, we smile; the next day we can be so cast down, the whole world is shrouded with clouds.
Sometimes we may experience this when the circumstances of our lives change. Our health may become shattered with the intrusion of cancer. Our marriage may be broken by the cold hand of death. The routine of our lives may be brutally interrupted by the “tragedy” of an accident. Of course, our response is drastic. We cry; we are crushed; we groan in our distress. And soon we rise above the blow and begin to see life in a different perspective. Life is never the same, but we go on. Soon the sunshine breaks through the clouds.
Our deepest frustration, however, is not at such times. Far more difficult for us is the up and down, the good and bad days, when the circumstances in our lives are the very same. For some of us it may be that our lives are filled with goodness from the Lord. We are healthy; we have work to do so that we are not bored with life; we have a happy marriage; we are blessed with healthy, active children. Yet, within the framework of so many blessings, we can one day be exhilarated, our faith life shines with the luster of heaven, we are thankful—and anyone looking at us can see it. Yet, a short time later, for no apparent reason, we can be down, depressed; we can’t seem to get ourselves together, and we walk around as if the whole world is crushing us td pieces.
The same is true for many of you who have grave trials in your lives. You are weeping because you are lonely, death has struck your home. You have known pain because of disease or surgery. You have to carry a great burden either because of your affliction or because you have to help a loved one who is afflicted. Sometimes you have days when the light of heaven shines upon you and you know contentment. Oh, not that it is easy on those days, but your outlook is bright and that makes such a difference. And, before you know it, maybe the very next day, you are crushed beneath the load. The circumstances are the very same, yet you feel gloom; you cry with self pity; it seems too much; you are discouraged.
What must we do?
The Word of God gives us direction.
It is true that we may console ourselves to a certain degree that such is the character of our life as long as we are on this side of the grave. We can certainly turn to many examples of Scripture to see God’s saints in their ups and downs, Jacob from Bethel to Peniel, Elijah from Carmel to the juniper tree, Jonah from Nineveh to sulking under the withered vine.
There really is no comfort in this. It helps us to understand that such trials are common to God’s people, but it doesn’t solve the problem.
Let me suggest that you read again Matt. 14:22-33.
We see in this experience of Peter a spiritual lesson. He walked on the water. He had “good days.” The storm didn’t make him afraid; the waves didn’t seem to bother him; he walked to Jesus.
But, when he looked at the wind and waves, he became afraid, verse 30. He began to sink and he cried, “Lord, save me.” And Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him and said, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” verse 31. In other words, Peter’s down days were due to his lack of faith. He was preoccupied with the storm rather than with the presence of Jesus. It was a time of “little faith.”
The outstanding truth in this entire passage is that salvation is completely in the Lord Jesus. He Himself walked upon the water! He is the Lord of life; He is our Redeemer and Savior Who has also become our Lord. He died for our sins. He made complete satisfaction so that the billows of God’s wrath are forever taken away from us, His people. He has received of the Father the Holy Spirit whereby He is able to impart to us a living faith.
Whether we are up or whether we are down, He saves us.
There is more, however, to instruct us.
We also learn of our relationship to Him. We like to have strong days, we like to be “up.” How can that be? Only one answer is obvious: “Look to Jesus!” Concentrate upon the Lord, learn His will, contemplate His great salvation, search the Scripture, and prayerfully ask for His presence and strength, and will walk upon the water. Grace and wisdom and all spiritual blessings come from Him through faith. Faith looks upon Jesus. There is no boast when we are “up.” We are able to do all things through Christ Who strengtheneth us.
We also learn what to do when we are “down.” There is something wrong with our faith; it is weak. Rather than looking at Jesus our Savior, we are looking at our own problem, we are feeling sorry for ourselves, we are engrossed in the hardship of life rather than looking at Jesus Who promises to give us strength no matter what the need. That really is sin. Listen to Peter, “Lord, save me!” Oh, yes, when we are “down” we need salvation! We need our faith strengthened, we need grace, we need the Holy Spirit. Do you do the right thing when you are down? We must turn to Jesus, read His Word, pray for salvation, for a lifting up of our souls to the God Who loves and cares for us. And He does just that, Jesus reached down and lifted Peter and gently reprimanded him.
We have an all-sufficient Savior.
“In doubt and temptation I rest, Lord, in Thee;
My hand is in Thy hand, Thou carest for me;
My soul with Thy counsel through life Thou wilt guide,
And afterward make me in glory abide.”