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When the Life that is, is not the Life you thought would be

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(6/2) Life is Tough. How is that for an opening line. Chances are good that for many of you, the life that is, is not the life that you thought would be. Years ago, I heard about this thing called a Mid-Life crisis. Itís kind of a male version of menopause, itís supposed to happen with guys in their 40ís and 50ís. (I must be going to live a long time because I am just having mine. But, I think I deserve it.) A lot of guys go through it because the life that is, is not the life they thought would be. They thought that they would have a higher position in the company, have more money, better health, better love life, more time off, ready to retire, etc. But, their hair is going, or gone, their hearing is shot, they have that furniture disease; that is, their chests have dropped down into their drawers. They have baldness, bifocals, bulges, bunions, bad knees, and more. Their nests are emptying but their kids have struggled with self-esteem, drugs, sex, and have not pursued a law or medical degree, or marriage. Many have discovered that the ladder they thought they were climbing to success was actually leaning on the wrong wall.

Some guys do dumb stuff like, trying to look like they were 20 again, going on spending sprees, having affairs, buying sports cars, and more, because the life that is, is not the life they thought would be.

You may have your story, it doesnít have to be a Mid-Life Crisis nor Menopause, but the things that are, are not what you dreamed or hoped that they would be. Your marriage, children, job, health, parents, retirement, home, car, or finances, are not what you were hoping for. Or, a major event has occurred that has been a life- game changer. Fire, theft, flood, accident, cancer, death, or divorce has left you breathless. Or, the boredom of sameness, has you depressed or discouraged. You wash the same clothes, prepare the same meals, clean the same house, mow the same lawn, watch the same TV shows, do the same job, day after day after day.

So, what do you do? Do you quit? Do you run away? Do you drop out and turn on to drugs, alcohol, or look for another partner? Or maybe, end it all? Quaint and Cute sayings arenít cutting it anymore, not even Bible verses. I have a friend that lost two wives, both to cancer. He said, "If I hear Romans 8:28, ("All things work together for goodÖ") again, I am going to scream." How about, "Into every life, a little rain must fall," or, "Behind every cloud is a silver lining."

Such was the case in the life of the men that followed Jesus. The life they dreamed of did not turn out to be the life that was. In John chapters 12-14, they were expecting a warrior to assume His throne as King of the World, but not to be imprisoned, rushed through a mock trial, and be beaten and executed. They were expecting to rule the world. Their hopes were dashed in just a few days. So, Jesus gives them some advice, that is fitting for all of us, when we, "feel all shook up," (had to squeeze a little Elvis in there). Jesus tells them just three short phrases (John 14:1)

1. Let not your heart be troubled- or literally, stop letting your circumstances shake you up. Re-adjust your focus, from your circumstances to God.

2. You Believe in God, right? God for these men was a no-brainer. They didnít believe in a gas explosion, or mischievous immortals with human emotions. They believed in a God who created everything, is all powerful, and with whom nothing is impossible; a promise keeping God, who loves them, and though He is Holy, Righteous, and Just, is also Gracious, Merciful, Loving and Good, and Who loves to be involved with His creation.

3. Believe also in Jesus. Stop, re-adjust, trust. Boom! Thatís it. The whole point of Johnís Gospel has been to prove that Jesus is one with God the Father (20:31). "Trust me," Jesus is saying, just as you may say to a small child. "I have a good plan even if you donít understand." His good plan for them was to take their penalty for sins upon Himself and to die for them, as their surrogate, and ours as well. To prepare for them and for us, a place in the Fatherís house. Peter says He reserves your place for you. (1 Peter 1:3-5). He does this so we can all be with Him and share His glory forever. His good plan was for them to do great things, pray great prayers, have a great helper (the Holy Spirit), and have a great personal relationship with God (Ch. 14). And thatís His plan for you.

Life is short, full of troubles, death is certain, but a place reserved in Heaven with Jesus. Thatís an awesome promise. How do you get it? "Believe also in Me." But know this. Jesus is not one way to God among many. He is the only way! He is not one truth among many others. He is the truth. All others are not the truth. He is not one-way to have life, He is the only giver of life both mortal and eternal. This is His promise to all who will listen and trust Him. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ĎI am going away and coming back to you.í If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ĎI am going to Father,í for My Father is greater than I. Why not take all your anxiety and entrust it to Jesus?

This is what you do, when the life that is, is not the life you though it would be. You trust Jesus! He really does have a good plan even when you donít understand.

For the last 6 years, we have had the privilege of starting a church, with the Blue Ridge Baptist Association, called Emmitsburg Community Bible Church and have been meeting in the Emmitsburg Elementary School. A year ago, my wife and I began to believe that God would have us finish the fourth quarter of our lives with an organization called Churches in Missions or CiM. Last week Pastor Joe Engel was confirmed to be the new pastor of ECBC and on June 25th, we will be saying Good-Bye to our faith community in Emmitsburg and starting our new journey. We would love to have you join us for this service at 10 a.m..

It has also been my pleasure and honor, to have been able to write for this column in the Emmitsburg News-Journal and to have our sermons published by this paper on-line on www.emmitsburg.net . Thank you, Michael Hillman, and thank you, to each of you who read these articles. We love you all.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman