During the college football playoffs, Louisiana State University’s offensive coordinator celebrated a huge victory over Oklahoma. It was an incredible win! One that people would be talking about for a long time.
But within moments, he received news that his daughter-in-law had been killed in a plane crash.
My mother-in-law’s sister and husband finally finished building their new house. It definitely had its challenges during the process, but they were able to move in. Just a day or two later, they had to rush her husband to the hospital, and he had to have a triple bypass surgery.
Just two days ago, a friend of mine was reveling about playing at one of the best places in Nashville. He’s worked hard throughout his music career and this was a huge victory for him. And then within hours, a tornado tore through the heart of downtown, destroying lives, buildings and leaving nothing but devastation and destruction behind.
Highs and lows.
Hills and valleys.
Sometimes it feels like a roller coaster experiencing amazing victories and then devastating defeat.
The patriarch Jacob knew this feeling too.
“And God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body. The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.’ Then God went up from him in the place where he had spoken with him. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he had spoken with him, a pillar of stone. He poured out a drink offering on it and poured oil on it. So Jacob called the name of the place where God had spoken with him Bethel. Then they journeyed from Bethel. When they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel went into labor, and she had hard labor. And when her labor was at its hardest, the midwife said to her, ‘Do not fear, for you have another son.’ And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).” (Genesis 35:11-19)
Jacob, now Israel, was blessed by God himself. To hear that God would give him land, multiply his seed and that his descendants would be kings… wow! Can you imagine what he must have felt? What an honor! He was having true mountain top experience.
And then, on the same journey, his beloved Rachel dies while giving birth to their son Benjamin.
I can’t imagine the pain he felt realizing she was gone. In the midst of celebrating, came a time of mourning. Even Jacob, who was close to God, suffered.
I’d love to tell you that the Christian life is all mountain top experiences.
I’d love to say that you’ll never have problems again, it’s all a bed of roses, and your life will only be great.
But, we all know, that’s not the case.
What I can promise you is we will experience monumental celebrations and extreme lows.
But if you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you will never have to walk through life alone. He will be there with you in times of great happiness, but He will also be there with you when you are hurting, crying or doubting.
He will use your life to mold you and shape you and to bless those around you. He will use your struggles to draw you closer to Him.
In 2010, I met the man of my dreams. But in just a few short months, I lost the first man that ever held my heart, my dad. But I have never felt as close to God as I did than when I was in that hospital with my dad, the funeral home and thereafter.
The highs and lows.
The hills and valleys.
God is there.
He loves you.
He will use what might have been meant for evil for His good (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28).
He doesn’t promise to make the road easy – but we know who has the victory.
We know who wins.
Reach out to the Lord today. Put your pride behind you and ask for His help as we journey through this life.
This is not the end.
But the decision we make about Jesus today will determine where we will spend our eternity.
Though I am not spared the sufferings of this life, I will trust in my Savior through victory and strife.