“Survival is determined by the honed skills of the one cutting a trail.”
--Cliff Hudgins (Viejo and the Hunted Ranger)
"I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should bear before Him."
--Ecclesiastes 3:14 (NKJV)
Charles Swindwoll, in his book, Living on the Ragged Edge, wrote, "In this ragged-edge reality called earthly existence, life is somewhere between sad and bad." Look at the world around you and what do you see? There is famine and drought, fires and floods--the ravages of nature. So many people are bored therefore they turn to gaming. Life is painful, full of headaches and heartaches. The media is filled with reports of murder, hate, rape, assault, arson, and add to that sickness, the virus, broken lives, and perhaps worst of all distorted minds.
With all of that what does man do? He turns to fantasy. "To infinity and beyond!" "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." Go "where no man has gone before." And what is the purpose of all of this? To escape. To create a fantasy world so you can cope with the real world. To think of yourself in another world experience, one where there are not the same problems that you face day-in-and-day-out. Man is seeking a vertical life, but he lives in a horizontal one. Fantasize all you want, tomorrow will bring its own problems, but first you deal with those the day. Maybe you don't have any real problems but are tired of the same old routine that life affords. You are in a rut, and remember a rut is a grave with two ends removed. Swindoll states, "There is no hell on earth like horizontal living without God."
God has made everything beautiful in its time. Not our time, but His. He has put eternity in our hearts, that is one reason man seeks a vertical life, but it is impossible...until that day in which we find ourselves in glory with God. What a minute, I can hear you--not everything is good, and you are correct. There is sickness, there is evil, there is the lack of moral restraint. But if you are a believer, you look at things with a different perspective or at least you should. Paul wrote to the Romans, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (8:28, NKJV)
We have the ability to rejoice. To rejoice in the midst of life's situations. We can enjoy life and do not have to escape for we are living by grace in this world rejoicing in what God is doing. The Amplified Version of Philippians says this, "Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!" (4:4) We have the ability, even in the midst of this insane and evil world to rejoice and do good because God is at work in our lives. Therefore, read Ecclesiastes 3:12-22 with a New Testament, Holy Spirit directed perspective. God performs things that cultivate respect for Him and repeats things until they are learned.
Let me close with some instructions from the Methodist minister William Sangster. In one of his sermons he gave directions on how to live and accept life. First, never make conditions with God. He makes conditions with us. Second, God retains the right to say "No." Third, we are going to be unshaken in discipleship, whatever happens. That is that way to live, come what may, I will not be moved, I will not be shaken for I have a trust in the Almighty God. One more word from Sangster, in 1958, he was diagnosed with an incurable disease. When he learned of his diagnosis, he made four resolutions: "I will never complain. I will keep the home bright. I will count my blessings. I will try to turn it to gain."
Learn to live this life, now in fear nor down in the mully-grubs, but in victory and rejoicing. "Faith is the victory . . . that overcomes the world." (John H. Yates)