Does anyone remember the game that we used to play as kids, MASH? You know the one. You choose three cars, three jobs, three pets, three numbers of children, three names of people you might marry, etc. Then your friend does tally marks on your paper until you tell them to stop, and that’s how they start the elimination process to show you what your future will be. Ha! Wouldn’t it be crazy if that’s truly how life worked? If the things that you wanted to become and the places you’d live and the cars you’d own were tossed in the metaphorical hat of life and just drawn at random? Crazy, for sure! Have you ever had to draw straws? I always seem to draw the short straw, so I really don’t care to leave my life up to chance.

I know that the concept of our lives being drawn out of a metaphorical hat seems silly and definitely laughable. But I think that, sometimes, it feels like that is how life has been dealt to us. It seems random. It seems unfair or cruel. But we base these feelings and understanding of our situations on what we can see and what we can feel, not necessarily what we know.

When I focus on the things that I know because of promises from God, my circumstances look and feel different. When I focus on God, saying that he will never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6), I no longer feel so alone. When I focus on the knowledge that his word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105), I can trust him to help me make wise decisions. When I focus on his declaration that he knows the plans he has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11), I can rest in knowing that, no matter what is going on, God has a plan. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by uncertainty and petrified of terrible things, but when our eyes are focused on God and his promises and character, the path forward becomes more evident and less frightening.

I know that we all wish that things could go differently. I know that we hope for change. I know that we want to provoke kindness in others, that we desire freedom and want a more peaceful world. I know that, often, our lives and circumstances seem insurmountable. And to be honest, they often are. But my hope is not in this world, in change, in peace, in kindness or in freedom. All those things are wonderful, and we should want those things. But friends, my hope is in Jesus. Someone once told me that perception is reality to the perceiver. So I challenge us to be a people that looks to God for how we should perceive our situation, so that our perception becomes his reality. My hope is in Jesus. Let’s look to him!

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