Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ultimate Survivor

What does the year 2006 hold for you? Does considering that question excite or frighten you? The answer depends on where your trust lies.

I don’t know if you are a follower of the television reality show ‘Survivor’, but I can’t honestly say that I have ever been a fan. I have a difficult time watching people who have intentionally placed themselves in a situation to face hardships. Personally, I think we experience enough trouble just through the course of day to day living than to invite more trials to fill our days.

I also struggle with really calling these participants ‘survivors’. I mean, what do they really have to endure? A few weeks of possible sleepless nights, maybe some extreme temperatures, hunger pains, a few cuts and bruises – but remember, before you’re too hard on me for my insensitivity – they came into this ‘game’ knowing that they would probably experience misery and pain. They are willingly choosing to suffer.

On the other hand, I have some friends right now in the ‘game’ of life who are true survivors. One described herself the other day as a ‘survivor sitting among the ruins’. They feel blessed to have survived, but their lives will forever retain the scars of the wreckage. Peace and sadness flow together in a steady stream. The wrecking ball has come in many forms. For a couple of friends it has come as unemployment and financial strain, while another couple face physical demolition. Several are buffeted with emotional separation from severed relationships, while yet another has been impacted by the unfathomable loss of children. In each case the crash was sudden, without notice and head on. How can these friends of mine survive such profound destruction?

The answer is found in the Ultimate Survivor – the One who conquered death to save and rescue us. His hands and feet forever hold the scars of His suffering and yet He is alive and He can lead us from victim to victory. When deep unbelievable loss side swiped my friends on the blind side, they have looked to the Lord for His strength. Yes, their lives may never be the same because of the impact of their personal collisions, but they are emerging stronger. Yes, they often still sit and weep amongst the ruins, but they are evidence to the rest of the world that their trust lies in God alone and that He is able.

What will 2006 hold for you? Walking into the unknown can be frightening – if you’re walking alone. I often think of the verse in Hebrews 11 that says “By faith Abraham…obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going”. I want to remind you that you do not need to walk alone. The Lord provided His Son as your Traveling Companion and no road is too long, dangerous or rough that He won’t come alongside you. Not only will He accompany you, but He will be your guide. He’s beside you holding the map of your life and saying, “I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you a hope and a future”.

The motto for the television series encourages the players to ‘outwit, outplay, outlast’. Christ lovingly encourages us to 'overtake', 'overcome' and overflow' – He will enable us to conquer, go beyond and be used for His glory to touch the lives of others.

"A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out." Isaiah 42:3