By Jon Shonebarger

Our journey through life is filled with many highs and lows. What a joy it is to watch our family members grow up, play sports, earn a place on the honor roll, and then graduate school. One day, they get their first real job and get married.

We enjoy watching their young families grow and become who God designed them to be. We celebrate the birthdays and holidays together. The family reunions are precious. Job promotions are wonderful. Grandbabies are the best. Let the good times roll! There is so much to celebrate in life. We know God is good – all the time! We are thankful for His blessings upon us.

Submitted photo
Jon Shonebarger

The bonds of love and the precious moments warm our hearts. Through the years memories abound with the laughter that filled the air and all the good times we enjoyed. Wouldn’t it be awesome if life were an endless party? All of our friends and family together laughing, eating, fellowshipping and being one big happy family. Living our daily lives, with our routines, with no surprises. Making plans. The status quo. That is life, as we dream it would be.

On the other hand, there are times when life is full of trials and tribulations. There will be the dreaded phone call that Grandma died, a friend or loved one was hurt in an accident, or the report from the doctor that someone has cancer. Often we hear that someone is getting divorced. Unfortunately, there are times families fight and do not speak to each other. We may get laid off and lose our income. Goodbyes are always heartbreaking. Life can be very hard.

Our hearts grow weary and the load, at times, seems impossible to bear. We may even ask ourselves, “Why me, why now?” The words of the songwriter, James Taylor, resonates in our mind, “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain; I’ve seen sunny days I thought would never end; I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought I’d see you again…” (Fire and Rain).

The journey of life, with both its sunny and cloudy days, is best traveled with the Lord Jesus. As the Psalmist testified, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…” (Psalm 23:4). Yes, the Lord IS with us! The poet, Annie Johnson Flint penned, “But God hath promised strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way: grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love!” My friends, aren’t we grateful for the Lord’s grip on our lives? Truly, we are secure in His love!

In my ministry to hurting people, I point them to the Good Shepherd. We have a Saviour who leads us through the uncertain tomorrows that lie before us. Yes, we are in His grip! The assurances of God’s promises, found in the Holy Bible, anchor our soul as we take life a step at a time. We will get through the storm. The clouds will pass. Better days do lie ahead. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…” (Psalm 37:23a). Let’s have faith in Him as He leads. He loves us with an eternal love. Let us simply, trust Him.

Savor your life’s blessed, fleeting moments. Hug Grandma and the kids, scream at the ball game, and laugh at the times you get together with friends and family. Sit down and have a long conversation with Grandpa. Then when the hard times come, rest assured, God will be there with you to comfort and support. The Lord has promised you His love and care, every moment, good or bad, in your life. Take heart my friends!