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May14

Transforming Troubling Times into Lasting Life

How Perspective Gives Clarity of Purpose for the Future

 

When a crisis strikes it demands our attention, it is inescapable. “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain.

The question is: Do we move through our problems and pain or become mired in it? What are the difficulties producing in us?

We can transform our challenges into good when we shift our attention from time and the troubles to the eternal and its pursuit.

Here are three principles that will help us adjust our perspective:

  1. One never fully lives in the present without a clarity of purpose of their future.
  2. Only with a Christ-centered plan of action for today can you bear much fruit tomorrow.
  3. We must be connected to others in love now, so we can be fully alive ongoing.

One never fully lives in the present without a clarity of purpose of their future.

When the present problems become our focus, we turn to meeting our own needs and are wrapped up with our situation. We become self-absorbed and end up being busy and not very productive. Problems can build us or break us. We must remember “that this too shall pass” thus we are reminded why we are here. What is our purpose? What does the Lord have for us in the future? Consider the following verses that direct us to clarify our future in order to see the present.

Jeremiah 29:11-13, For I know the plans that I [h]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

2 Corinthians 4:10, “carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body.”

Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, in “Man’s Search for Meaning” makes that following observations. “It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future. And this is his salvation in the most difficult moments of his existence, although he sometimes has to force his mind to the task. The prisoner who had lost faith in the future - his future - was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay.”

In the difficulties we are not only to be with others, we serve them and help them. This is love of people in an ongoing way of life that reinforces our purpose and will be the means to transform us. It helps us know “who” to focus on which is not ourselves first.

Transform your troubling times into a life of lasting value by:

  1. Focusing on a future purpose that brings hope and answers the “why” of life while giving meaning to the present suffering.
  2. Engaging in a Godly plan of action that moves us from being stuck today to walking by faith and allowing the Lord to guide us in our “what” and will bear fruit tomorrow
  3. Caring for and serving people, our “who”, with the love of Christ makes us alive now and ongoing.

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves." - Viktor Frankl

BW
 
Download a full version of this Bible Study containing all points and scripture references on this topic. This is part of the “Living in Hope with the One Leader” Bible Study Series—a series of free Bible study downloads as a complimentary gift to you.