Matney: The power to bounce back
You cannot bury rubber tires. I have read about this and confirmed it with folks at our local landfill. The springy, bouncy energy in the tires keeps fighting back against the dirt around them and they eventually work their way back to the surface. You just can’t bury them.
In a similar way, the energy of Christ in us can give us the power to bounce back when life tries to bury us under our failures, disappointments and dirt. Life can dirty us up, and knock us down; but we can bounce back. The apostle Paul described it like this in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9:
“We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
A clay jar is easily crushed, and the pressures and disappointments of life can crush us also. But we can draw on the divine treasure of endless energy that is available to us for the power to bounce back.
Jesus is the treasure of endless energy and life that I need. He said in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” He is the way when I feel lost, he is the truth I need when I’m perplexed and don’t have answers, and he is the living energy I need to bounce back and rise above anger, resentment, fear and abuse.
Paul’s prayer in Philippians 3:10 was to “Know Jesus and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” The privilege of knowing Jesus better, through suffering and joy, has motivated and comforted me in seasons of adversity. Jesus suffers with those who are hurting, and I am privileged to suffer with Jesus and with my brothers and sisters.
When relationships have fallen apart, I can say, “Thank you Jesus for letting me taste a little of the pain of rejection you experienced. And, thank you for letting me experience some of what others feel when they’ve been abandoned and abused.”
In financial losses I’ve said, “Thank you Lord Jesus that I get to experience a little of the loss you experienced when you left the luxuries of heaven and came to live on this broken, poverty-stricken planet. And, thank you that I get to suffer with my brothers and sisters around the world who may have even less than I do.”
When suffering physical pain and health issues, I can say, “Thank you Jesus that I get to suffer a small amount of the pain you suffered in your crucifixion and I get to suffer with others who are sick or in pain.”
Now, I’m not saying we should look for trouble. But I am saying, if God does allow poverty, hunger, tears, rejection and suffering into our lives, let us welcome it as an opportunity to know him better and experience the blessing that knowing him produces. He calls us blessed.
Looking at his disciples, Jesus said in Luke 6:20-23 20: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.” Rejoice in that day and leap for joy (bounce for joy!), because great is your reward in heaven.
How can we describe the Life of Christ in us? It is like the rubber tires that won’t stay buried, and the good man you can’t keep down. It is like the tree sapling pushing up through concrete. It’s like a tow truck pulling us out of the muck and mire of our lives. It is the high-octane tiger in your tank, the Tigger that bounces and the Everready battery in your soul that keeps you charged up. It is the energy of a billion stars; it is the Star Maker himself living inside of you!
The power to bounce back starts with a sincere prayer of faith: “Lord Jesus, come and live big in me and in my circumstances.” Then, begin to wait patiently and expectantly. Over and over, I’ve experienced a bounce of blessing in my relationships, my finances and my health as I trust in Jesus. I believe God will do the same for you, dear friend.
Then, if fear, disappointment and problems threaten to bury you again, pray again. Pray as many times as needed until you begin to feel faith, peace, buoyancy and bounce.
Dan Matney is the pastor at New Life Assembly of God in Avon. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.