And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness. Mark 1:11-12 NLT
His life was a series of ups and downs.
Saul boasted of a rich genealogical heritage, but those who bullied him cared less about his heritage. At times, Saul lived freely and enjoyed his life, until some falsely accused him and had him placed in jail. And his jail stint didn’t involve three hots and a cot but a chain that kept him shackled to a guard.
Saul seemed to have everything together in life, but that was before a life-changing experience changed things. He loved to bully those who clung to a religion he disagreed with, but after God convinced him of his error he found himself bullied.
Saul enjoyed sailing the open seas, but one time the experience differed. A storm battered the ship, sunk it, and left him on a strange island. He rejoiced that his life had been spared, but didn’t enjoy the snakebite he got when he tried to start a fire.
Saul’s up and down rollercoaster of a life ended in a jail cell where the ruler of the land eventually beheaded him. But Saul was just crazy enough to think that leaving the body would mean entering heaven.
Jesus knew a little about ups and downs, too. John the Baptist baptized Him, and that act began Jesus’ earthly ministry. But a down in the wilderness where Satan tempted Him for forty days and nights followed. And not too long thereafter, John—Jesus’ cousin—felt the same blade Saul had. Several years later, Jesus felt the spikes as His accusers nailed Him to a cross.
I can identify … at least in part … with Saul and Jesus. I’ve enjoyed ups and downs, although the downs have seemed more numerous. I’ve also discovered questioning the downs proves pointless. God may give me an answer, but most of the time His answer is merely, “Trust.”
Life’s downs comprise a part of God’s plan for us. Rather than try to understand them, we do better by praying for strength and submitting to that part of God’s plan. When we don’t try to manipulate our circumstances, God teaches us valuable lessons and grows us spiritually. He forms us more into the image of His Son, which is His great purpose for all believers.
Don’t let life’s downs get you down. Look up to the One who provides the strength to get you through all your downs.
Prayer: Father, we entrust our downs to You, knowing You will carry us through to the ups.
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