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Tag Archives: overcoming trials in life

A Life Without Relationships

Casual friendships will come and go depending upon circumstances in life.  Yet, everyone needs at least one permanent meaningful lasting relationship to get you through hardship, struggles and trials.  Unfortunately, some choose to become lone rangers, wandering through life alone.

When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”- Exodus 18:14

After leading Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness, Moses fell prey to this mindset.  Serving as the supreme judge, Moses worked from sun up to sun down, about sixteen hours a day.  During a visit from his father in law, Jethro made an obvious observation, “what you are doing is not good.”  Jethro’s advice was to train other judges, then delegate basic and simple cases to these men.  The decision to alter his course prevented Moses from living a life without relationships.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her,” Luke 10:41-42.

Unfortunately, I have a tendency to follow in Moses’ footsteps, trying to do everything on my own.  Anyone who continues down this path is destined to become burned out or overwhelmed.  Some refer to this as the Martha complex, when you are so consumed with day to day chores you forget to enjoy the people God has blessed you with.  Heed the wise words of Jethro so that you don’t live a life without relationships.

by Jay Mankus

Short but Sweet

Due to an unexpected eye surgery on Friday, I am not sure exactly how this will influence my writing.  Initially, I will have some restrictions but to what extent is unknown.  Thus, for the meantime my blogs will have to be short but sweet.

“LORD, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am, Psalm 39:4.”

One of the contributions to life made by Psalmists in the Bible is their willingness to plead with God for answers in prayer.  Rarely, do you read the words I hope or wish.  Rather, these young men poured out their hearts to God in a clear and concise manner expecting results.

For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, Because our days on earth are as a shadow, Job 8:9.

The words above are profound as the only certainty in life is what happened yesterday.  The rest of today and tomorrow is a mystery, known only to the Lord above.  While I am disappointed with my current physical condition, I trust that God is using trials of the present to strengthen me for the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Life Without Sight?

When I first moved to Delaware, I worked 2 jobs and went back to school to try to finish my Masters in Theology.  After 2 successful years, I began to develop some eye issues.  Unfortunately, the strain on my eyes was too much as I was diagnosed with iritis 15 years ago.  While dropping out of school helped, its been a decade of ups and downs, unsure if my medication would improve my condition.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise, Jeremiah 17:4.

In the past 6 months, one of my eyes has been unresponsive for some reason.  Thus, I’m facing a dangerous scenario of either surgery or possible losing my sight in this eye.  For someone planning on writing a movie script per year in retirement, this is a major problem.  Thus, one has to wonder why this trial has knocked on my door.  This is where faith, science and the human body collide.

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven, James 5:15.

Despite the odds confronting me, I am still holding out hope for a miracle.  As I wait a month for my next check up, all I can do is be a good patient by following my doctor’s instructions.  Meanwhile, I will lift my situation up to the great healer in the sky.  The anticipation and waiting will be tough, yet I serve a living God who has a record of restoring sight to the blind.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Taken Away

In the 1972 Men’s Basketball Olympic Gold Medal Game, the buzzer sounded twice at the end of the game with the United States leading 50-49.  However, the officials stopped the game a final time, putting 3 second back on the clock.  On the third attempt, the U.S.S.R. caught a long inbound pass and scored a two point basket as time expired.  Despite an appeal to the Olympic Committee, the final score was upheld giving the gold medal to the Soviet’s squad.  Today, the silver medals of this team remain in a Swiss bank vault, unclaimed as their gold medal was taken away.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it, Matthew 16:25.

You don’t have to be an athlete to have something taken away.  A car accident may leave an individual paralyzed.  Some sort of rare illness can steal the health of a young and formerly energetic soul.  Meanwhile, careers, jobs and relationships may end prematurely, without your consent or failed attempts to save them.  Whenever you endure heartbreak, these moments in time may take years to overcome.  Somethings in life just aren’t fair and what’s worse God tends to be receive the blame for most of life’s troubles.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst,” John 6:35.

As God closes the door abruptly on one aspect in your life, faith is what gets individuals through periods of darkness.  Although the day light may not come soon enough, an invisible source will stand by your side.  Promising the Holy Spirit, Jesus foresaw a time when things would be taken away on this earth.  Subsequently, when this day arrives, its essential to turn your attention toward the bread of life.  Don’t let what has been taken away from you develop into a life filled with bitterness and regret.  Rather, press on through days of darkness to find meaning and purpose in Christ.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

The One that Got Away

One of the certainties in life is that you will experience disappointment at some point in time.  Despite having an ideal or perfect day, there will be outcomes that surprise you.  These twists and turns having lasting effects, especially when you are so close to victory.  Thus, everyone has a story, as painful as it may be about the one that got away.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, 1 Peter 1:6.

As a student in high school, I was one dimensional.  Although I eventually improved my grade point average, my sole concern was with sports.  I guess you can say I lived and died with each victory and loss.  While I was blessed to be apart of many great teams, I never won a state championship, finishing second in cross country, third in a swimming relay and fourth in golf.  If only I was healthy, stronger or I could putt, the ending may have been different.  Since there is no time travel device or vehicle to go back, all I can do is think about what might have been.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed, 1 Peter 1:7.

Each of these failures digs up a certain degree of anguish.  As a junior I watched my cross country team lose by 7 points as I sat on the sidelines after reconstructive ankle surgery.  This was excruciating, but losing the state golf championship as a senior probably stings more, letting a first round lead slip away, clawing back to within one on the back nine, only to fade down the stretch.  Exactly why God allows individuals to endure heartbreak is hard to say.  Yet, in every defeat, there is a life lesson, something to learn from so you can overcome the one that got away.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Pain of Unjust Suffering

Every day is like the luck of the draw.  Sometimes you experience undeserved blessings.  Other mornings you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, confronted with the pain of unjust suffering.  According to Peter, a disciple of Jesus who faced his own trials and tribulations, as you undergo these periods in life, be conscious of God.

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God, 1 Peter 2:19.

Unfortunately, those who become a target of the enemy like Job, sometimes moments of crisis can be overwhelming.  If you have ever read John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, its almost hard to believe someone could endure such pain.  In the face of death, these saints considered sacrificing their lives rather than compromising their faith.  Truly, these individuals were conscious of God.

They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated, Hebrews 11:37.

Modern Christians in America are facing a new challenge, the loss of religious freedoms.  Whether its prayer in school, the 10 commandments displayed in public places or quoting politically incorrect verses from the Bible, any of these infractions will leave you in hot water, under scrutiny from the mainstream media.  Nonetheless, if you are acting out of conviction, in the name of Jesus, you may be on the verge of experiencing the pain of unjust suffering.

by Jay Mankus

The Joseph Parallel

The logical individual thinks life should be a series of straight lines from point A to point B and so on.  While everyone may experience progress and natural progressions at times, life is full of detours, road blocks and phases of construction.  Therefore, the next time you find yourself in a period of transition, remember the Joseph parallel.

And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colors that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into the pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it, Genesis 37:23-24.

Joseph son of Jacob, had high expectations, receiving dreams and visions of the life God intended.  However, envy, jealousy and pride led Joseph down a path of disappointment.  Despite a series of heartbreaks, Joseph remained optimistic, leading to favor from God and man.  Apparently, Joseph didn’t care how long it took to fulfill God’s will.  Rather, Joseph kept plugging away at life until God opened doors that he was ready to walk through.

And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.  But Jehovah was with Joseph, and showed kindness unto him, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison, Genesis 39:20-21.

As I look at my own life, its not that different from Joseph.  However, when I experience trials I spent too much questioning God instead of making the best of each situation.  Subsequently, I have wasted countless days, weeks and years complaining instead of currying God’s favor.  In view of Joseph’s parallel, I need to be transformed, embracing hardships like James 1:2-4.  Although the Lord is waiting to bless his children, too many are having pity parties instead of taking God’s hand in faith.  May the Joseph parallel broaden your perspective and inspire you to keep serving the Lord until you reach your final destination.

by Jay Mankus