The events of the past month have challenged me to my core. I have endeavored to live my life both following while also obeying what I believe to be the direction of the lord for my life. This is what has created the unexpected journey. The journey this month has been particularly unexpected. The interesting thing about it is the fact that it revolves around money. I have seen a steady increase in production (sales) at work, which has meant a steady increase in income. This has been a great blessing to the family because it means the ability to save, which thus allows us the opportunity to get some of the less necessary, but important things in life. Things like additional pieces of clothing or things electronic that make children happy. All of that came to a crashing halt this month as this well of supply dried up. The interesting thing about it is the fact that everyone else in the group has soared while I have had to prepare for a crash dive. Why is that? Have I sinned against God or turned my back on him? Have my family or I decided that we could go this journey without him thereby inviting him to withdrawal this presence? Is it that we have made the adversary mad thus prompting this horrendous attack on us? The answer hasn’t presented itself, which means the challenge is still very present. The question is what are we going to do about it? It is pointless to raise my fist toward heaven and blame God. That will only stir up more tension within me, plus possibly position me outside of his blessing. This doesn’t mean that I pretend everything is all well and good. It does mean that because I have a relationship with the godhead, that I talk to them honestly about how I feel and why. It is more like a monologue or venting is the term used today. Whatever you call it, I freely do it and get it off my chest. This is important because these negative emotions are not festering within me causing another set of problems. The next thing I do is turn to the scriptures to find some comfort. I read stories about David who faced with impossible odds encouraged himself in his God by reflecting on the past victories. I read words of encouragement from the apostle Paul who writes I can do all things through the strength of Christ within me. I struggle through his words telling me not to compare myself with those around me, because this is not wise. I listen to the voice of the prophets of the Old Testament say that the thoughts of the Lord toward me are of a hope and future. In the midst of all of this I sometimes force myself to laugh. I begin by saying, “he-he, ho-ho, ha-ha.” I may repeat it a hundred times before I find myself actually laughing. I also listen to the words of righteous friends who tell me the mess you are in is God’s problem as long as your life isn’t out of order. I struggle most with that one I suppose; but I do attempt to wrap my brains around it. One thing I have come to realize in this journey is that it is not about being happy. I often find myself battling with depression. This isn’t to say that I am a depressed person no more than it is to say I am a sad embittered one. One of the lessons in this journey—at least as I see it—is to be obedient. There is a place in the scriptures that says Jesus learned obedience by suffering. I have never investigated the passage to discover what he suffered—might be a later post—but as I understand suffering, there isn’t a lot of joy associated with it; at least not while you are going through it. The joy certainly comes; it also certainly goes. It is said of Martin Luther that he would spring up in his bed at night remembering something that he forgot to repent of that day while spending all day asking God’s forgiveness of his sins. The point of this is to express the importance of learning obedience. We have no idea how significant it might be later in our earthly life as well as our eternal life. Imagine how tragic it would be to miss out on such learning while on earth only to learn that such lessons are not possible in eternity. In moments like these you must choose to stand—not understand, but stand. You stand believing the things you have learned. You stand believing the promises that have been made. And you stand knowing that the God for whom you are standing (while not understanding any of it) both has in the past and will in your future, bring you through it.