Can you cope? - Hope 103.2

Can you cope?

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsTuesday 15 Oct 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes


Author  Paul Reese tells a story of a man on a ship that was being torpedoed during the Second World War. Eventually the ship was sunk and the people were in a little life raft and they were picked up by a freighter that was piloted by the Germans.  Once on board,they were all thrown in a big hold area,which was dark and they were fearing for their lives.  And the strain on their nerves was terrible.  And one of these men who was in that situation recounted the story,apparently,to Dr. Reese with these words,”I began to talk with the Lord.  At first I couldn’t sleep,then He reminded me of  Psalm 121,which says ”Where will I find help? It will come from the Lord,who created the heavens and the earth. The Lord is your protector,and He won’t go to sleep or let you stumble. The protector of Israel doesn’t doze or  ever get drowsy.”  So I said,’Lord,there’s no use both of us staying awake.  If you’re gonna keep watch,I’ll thank you for some sleep.’  And I got it.”  I thought this was an amazing story – one of survival and faith. And the ability of one man to cope with a bad situation.

I’m sure we all want to cope better with the bad stuff that life throws up at us. You probably know what I mean. Polls show that most of us believe in God,and even pray. But we still have questions. We may wonder if faith is rational. “How can I know if God exists,and if He does… does He really care? Can this fact help me cope?”

E. Stanley Jones once  said that,”The art of living is the least learned of all arts.”  In his book entitled “Mastery,” he said .. “Man has learned the art of existing,of getting by somehow with the demands of life,of escaping with half-answers,but he knows little about the art of living with all its demands.” I’m sure that is correct. If we were really honest,we would say many  of us can’t cope with the complexities of life.  For many people life is a very horrible experience if they really carefully examine it.  They don’t like their families,they don’t like the one they’re married to very well,at least they think they like somebody else better.  They don’t like their jobs,they’re not happy with their  income.  They are generally pretty unhappy much of the time. Unfortunately,some good people have been brought to the end of their rope by the stresses of life. It could be marital or family responsibilities,illness,the loss of a loved one,or something else out of our control. We try to keep a stiff upper lip. But on the inside we know that,as strong as we may try to be,the reality is that we feel helpless. We long for strength beyond ourselves to help us cope. And we wonder if God can be that strength? Still others realize that the stresses in their life are their own doing. Whatever it might be,we can look back and see that we are living with the consequences of our own choices. And we wonder if God can love someone who has been down the path we have chosen?

And the reason is that inside,they really don’t know how to live life.  And if you really get down to it,it isn’t the circumstances at all that’s the problem.  It’s the person that’s the problem .. it’s you and me.  We may buy some new clothes or go to the hairdresser,but it’s still the same person who is unhappy deep down inside. We can’t cope. Alcohol or drugs may seem to be the answer – but in reality it’s never the answer! I think Stanley Jones was right when he said “Man doesn’t know how to live”.

Now it’s true that everyone has got problems of some kind. .  Job in the Bible said  “Man is born into trouble.”  Everybody’s got problems.  The question is not who’s got problems,the question is who’s got victory over problems.  That’s the question,who can cope with it? Maybe the best option is to break through the problems and be victorious. Easier said than done – how do you do it?  Let’s take a look at Paul the apostle whose New Testament writings have changed the lives of many people.

In Philippians 3 he says some amazing things like “Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to Him” (v v8). If ever a man lived in terrible and crushing circumstances,it was Paul. He learned how to cope with life,even when it meant he could die for his faith. He had learned the secret of coping. If you want more out of life,I have a few practical suggestions to make.

Start reading the Bible. Start with a New Testament book,like the Gospel of Mark. You will begin to see a beautiful story unfold,of God’s love for all people. Talk to someone who professes to be a Christian. Ask them questions about what they believe and why. Write down your spiritual questions and present them to a knowledgeable Christian. You will be amazed how this can help to sort out the issues of life..

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Remember this verse from Isaiah 49:23 .. “I am the LORD… those who hope in me will not be disappointed”.