A message by pastor James Exline
So, you’ve started the journey of recovery and have surrendered your will and the care of your life to God. As stated in Step Three, you’ve chosen to make a decision to turn your will and your life over to the care of God as you understand Him.
You’re doing the right thing. You’ve got a sponsor, you’re working the steps, going to church, and maintaining a conscious contact with God. As a result and at this point, you might expect things to be “smooth sailing.” After all, you’ve surrendered your life to God who is all powerful, loving, and is a good God.
I mean, we expect problems while in active addiction, right? You have probably felt like you deserved those problems—that they were consequences of your actions, or possibly even that God is punishing you or at the very least, withholding blessings based upon your actions.
Fast forward to the present, you are working on making amends, on doing the right things, and have changed your life for the better. It should be blue skies, the wind at your back, and blessings falling into your lap. That may be how you believe things should be, but in reality, you still are overwhelmed with problems.
But why? After all, you expected them when you were doing the wrong things; conversely, when you are doing the right things, you may expect life to be all roses and blue skies. When that is not the case (which will often be true), we tend to think that we have done something wrong or that there is something wrong with us. “If only I would… then God would bless me and life would be wonderful.”
The problem here is not that you are doing something wrong or even that you aren’t doing enough right things; the problem is life happens. (Another statement says it better, but I’ll leave that to your imagination). The problem is that we live in a world that is far from perfect, in which we will have struggles and problems, regardless of how many “right” things we do.
When Life Happens, What Should You Do?
In John 16.33a, Jesus says this about life on this earth, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” Notice Jesus didn’t say that those trials and sorrows would end once you turned your life over to Him, once you were doing the right things. He said the duration for those problems was “in this life.”
This may seem like bad news, and indeed, it does warn us that difficult times are ahead. In the end of that same scripture, Jesus says, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” This is the same Jesus who in Matthew 11.28 says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
The same one who lived life in this world on life’s terms lived a life not free from struggles and problems. He overcame them and wants you to know that you will have struggles, problems and heartaches too. Jesus has been there, done that. He understands, and He’s here to help you in the midst of your struggles. Jesus is saying come to me—bring your troubles to me, and I will strengthen, comfort, and help you.