[This post was formulated during a counseling session, and while name is withheld, permission to share was given because that’s how we do things.]
A few weeks ago now, I was asked to meet with a man who was struggling. After setting up a time about 48 hours later, he met me at the church.
After the greeting and welcoming, my initial prayer followed by a start question was directed at breaking some ice and getting to the heart of what was wrong. Note here: I really didn’t have a lot of pre-gathering info to have a formulation of what was going on. This gathering was the “ice-cracker” to learn and to listen.
About 5 minutes into his sharing, and my occasional asking ~ he made this statement, which I wrote down verbatim: “I know God wants me at a ‘higher altitude’, but I just can’t seem to get there.” Just so you know for the record: Everybody who is living and breathing today; everyone who is still walking on planet earth in 2016 right now, spare no one, has something that is hindering, slowing down, or altogether bucking up against our Christ-followship. No matter how long people have been alive, how experienced they are in following Jesus Christ as Lord, where they live, what’s happened in their past, or what situations and circumstances have now arisen ~ there is always a battle, a circumstance, or a situation that is being contended with or flushed out.
Here is a list of possible things: busyness, drama, finances, home-life, illnesses, relationships, kids, school, sports, work, etc. etc. etc. In all, just about anything will “rob your joy” “deplete your energy” and “distract your focus.” But the answer also resides in this fact: “if you will let it/allow it.” There is one and only one person who can permit these things to occur, and that person is YOU. That is a point that seemed to be clear in this appointment, without my even having to say it, verbally. It just seemed to surface right there, right then. And God made it exceptionally clear.
The fact is: In most all cases when things are seemingly most difficult and challenging to us spiritually, if we really look at it, we aren’t as close to God as we ought to be. More than not, we are relying on things like experience, intuition, self-sufficiency, and just for time to pass. Question is: Where is God in all of it? Maybe we’ve been putting off making Him our first priority. Perhaps we’re slack in our Worship or in our commitment. It could be that we are minimizing the purpose and role of our church family: simply not showing up, not investing in this mission or in others, dodging what God is revealing to our heart. The list is full of things we could insert here. Insert yours: ________________.
But in it all, and through it all, the voice of the One Who is completely able to bring forth restoration, hope, and healing comes. Sometimes as loud as a rushing wind, other times as a soft whisper. And here is what He says… “I came to give life, and life more abundantly” (John 10, v.10).
It doesn’t mean there won’t be problems. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have seasons of hurt, of uncertainty, or of deep challenge. But it does mean you will have a different focus from a “higher altitude.” And that altitude, friends, brings us closer to the One Who is the light of the world. When we see from His perspective, things change. Our viewpoint shifts. We even observe things that we couldn’t see, or get, or understand before.
This particular counseling session ended after about an hour. In that time, I answered about 2 questions and he answered about 12 of his own. When he left, he looked back at me and said, “I’m glad I came today” and I responded, “The most important thing is that Jesus was here with us, and He is with you.” Let’s never forget that! He has our best interests at heart.
Joy for the journey!