Can you picture the below scenario?
Oh, yeah, just cruising along in my career. Everything is going great, life is so good.
Went on a dream vacation to the Caribbean last year for a couple weeks, just bought my new Mercedes that I’ve had my eye on, and every other weekend me and the family try and spend the days doing something fun – after all we deserve it. We’ve worked hard to earn all that we have.
Even stepped down from my weekly Sunday ministry commitment at church – just not able to make it on a consistent basis anymore. They can certainly handle it without me. I want to enjoy all that I have right now.
But then one day the floor caves in…
Your boss hands you a pink slip at your job. What? But I’ve been working extra hours and you’ve always bragged about my good work. How could you do this to me?
Then a water pipe bursts underneath your house and your kitchen is all flooded. All the flooring needs to be torn up and replaced. Not now, we can’t afford it!
To top it all off, your teenage daughter comes home crying, stating she made a mistake and has gotten pregnant. But we’ve been paying for your schooling at that swanky school for years now. We’ve even held you back from attending some of the student events at church just so you could study more and get good grades on your homework!
The stress gets intense at home, and in-house arguing intensifies. One day your spouse decides he/she wants a divorce. Can’t take it – things just aren’t the way they used to be, and I don’t like living this way!
Now the scenarios listed above are fictional, but I know people have experienced similar tragedies in their lives. However if you read through the wording carefully, you can probably see what started the downhill trend.
This family decided they don’t really need God anymore. After all, “they’ve” worked hard, and “they’ve” decided to use the blessings that God had given them (i.e. good jobs, close-knit family, home life) and decided to put Him on the back-burner instead of front and center.
Haggai 1:1-11 talks about how disobedience can suddenly make your life turn ugly. Look at what v. 9-11 (NIV) says:
“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why? … Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.”
It’s so easy to turn our eyes away from God when things are going good, isn’t it? And there’s certainly nothing wrong with having a nice home, car or taking a great vacation. There are even seasons when it may be time to step down from a ministry for awhile.
But when we deliberately turn away from God – forgetting that it is He Himself who gives us breath and life, as well as every blessing, then trouble can come on us – and sometimes it comes on us at a fast and furious pace.
Christmas is coming upon us soon, and this time of year gets very hectic for a lot of people. It’s so easy to take our eyes off Jesus and instead get caught up in gatherings, buying gifts and beautiful decorations, isn’t it?
I’ve found myself struggling this year remembering the “Reason for the Season,” as this will be the first year my husband and I will not be celebrating it with our son who has decided he wants to do his own thing this year. Yet as I shed tears at church last Sunday, I was reminded that Jesus is the greatest “gift” that we could ever receive, and that as I’ve forced myself to keep my eyes on Him instead of my sorrow, I am finding that there is always joy to be found.