James A. Washington

As a Christian, no matter how devout, life will put you in the dumps about your particular situation or circumstance. Being a Christian does not guarantee a life void of trial and tribulation. As a matter of fact, being a Christian is tantamount to sending VIP invitations to Mr. Temptation and Ms. Test. The key to getting through it all and maintaining a sense of inner peace is knowing that God is always in your life.

No matter the situation, God will never abandon you, regardless of how lonely life gets or appears to be. I liken it to pushing a huge rock uphill. On many a day that rock becomes a boulder and that hill transforms into a very steep and treacherous mountain. At these times, one must recognize that were if not for God’s presence in your life, that rock would push back and the hill would turn into quicksand.

Within your attitude is the solution and the peace you require to keep pushing. I admit it’s easy to get down on yourself even when you are a believer. But because you’re a believer, it should impossible to stay down.

I went to two different churches recently where members were allowed to give testimony and request prayer. One church was very large and high-tech and people spoke of their real-life journeys to Christ by concluding that “Jesus is more than a story.” Each testimony of Christ’s reality in changing a life forced me to rethink my own situation and conclude, I have no right to be down.

In the other much smaller and more intimate church, member after member told stories of specific trials and tests and the need for prayer, from family situations in which a six-month-old died prematurely and a seven-year-old who suffered from cancer, to a person so allergic to life that the smell of perfume would cause excruciating pain and a life of seclusion.

In all instances, the people involved found a way to cope, to live, to survive, God gave them all hope.

Remember, every testimony was relayed in church as an acknowledgement of the power and love of the Lord through whom all blessings flow. Every story was an entreaty for prayer and a public proclamation of faith. Real Christians … real life … the real world.

My real world, no matter how messed up it is, has been and can be, is never as bad as it could be without the love of the Lord in my heart, the faith of Jesus Christ in spirit and the invitation to the Holy Spirit to ride shotgun with me wherever I go.

Read Psalm 23 today. Look around your valley of death and fear no evil. Bathe in the grace of God. As kids used to say, “You better recognize.” I’m just saying recognize, represent and be blessed.

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