What’s Your Self Portrait?

Posted: March 4, 2012 in Forged - victory & strength in hard times

A few years ago, I was sitting across the table from a gentleman who had spent much of his 50 years living a life of self-indulgence – drugs, alcohol and women. As he sat across from me depressed and feeling like he had wasted his life, I couldn’t help but feel sad for him.  As I listened to him, it was apparent that he was focused on all the ‘failures’ and poor choices of his past and could not see any potential for his future. As far as he was concerned – for what he could see, his future was dead. His ‘self portrait’ looked of a corpse bittered by wrong choices, shaded by failures, and blackened by sin.  I’ve come to realize that my friend’s story is not an isolated case.  There are many, many people in our world who look at their own past as a heavy black cloud; with all its failure, bad choices, pain and suffering. It can be so difficult at times to see our lives in the ‘natural’ and at the same time see any hope for a good future. Divorce, abortion, financial failure, abuse, addictions, abandonment – the list of life’s regrets and disappointments can almost seem endless and overwhelming.

May I offer a bit of a different perspective? There is an intriguing story in Mark chapter 5, where family members of a certain synagogue leader came to him with ‘bad news’ – no need to bother the teacher (Jesus) anymore… your daughter is dead, they told him. He had just found Jesus and they were on their way back to his home, when the ‘news’ name. His daughter had been very sick and he went in search of Jesus to He would heal her. Ugh! I can imagine his heart sank and immediate despair and fear began to overwhelm his mind. But in verse 36, Jesus quickly responds to the news and tells this father… pay no attention to what they said…Don’t be afraid; just believe.

I love Jesus’ response to the ‘natural mind’. In the natural, his daughter was dead… stopped breathing, heart stopped… gone. But Jesus had other plans that no one else could see outside of the immediate situation. This is so like our dreams and goals – our future. Things can happen in our lives that would cause us to look at our potential, our hope and opportunities as ‘dead’. The overwhelming nature of our current situation can keep us from seeing and believing that Jesus still has a plan for us – for our future.

Right now, you may be facing some situation, some miss-step, some tragedy that seems to stare you in the face and tell you that your life is over… it is dead. It may even be someone close to you… some well meaning person just trying to bring a dose of ‘reality’. May I be so bold as to just simply quote Jesus… pay no attention to what they said… don’t be afraid; just believe.  Believe in what, you might ask? Believe that your past does not define you… Jesus does. And there is no condemnation for those who have a personal relationship with Him (Rom 8:10). Believe that the plans God has for you are like DNA – they never change, even in the midst of challenges and difficulty (Jer. 29:11).  Believe that God knows the depth of every pain, every challenge and every sin and when we look to Him for help, He will always provide the help we need (1 Cor. 10:13).

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. Jeremiah 31:25

Don’t be afraid – Just believe!

Enjoy this video – Jason Gray (I Am New)

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