It’s those changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,
nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.
– Jimmy Buffet
A good friend on mine was all over this song many years ago now. He had a lot of problems, and he was sure that he would find happiness in the Florida Keys – Just like Jimmy Buffet sang about. My friend quit a good job, bought a Harley, got all tattooed up, and disappeared to the Keys. He got that change in latitude, but it didn’t prevent him from putting a bullet in himself while lying in his bathtub. It turns out there wasn’t happiness for him in a change of latitude, job, or friends. Nor was there any in his motorcycle or in rum.
Tony was more than a good friend.
We all dream of escaping to different places when life gets tough. That seems to be wired into us, to run from our problems. We all know this doesn’t work. Some of us know firsthand. Now, this is no reason to consider yourself stuck in a bad place, but the idea of being able to run away from our problems has been proven false so many times that we should accept it as fact.
That’s not easy.
In fact, it can seem impossible.
Sometimes, we have made such a mess of things, we can’t imagine a solution. Sometimes those around us are so miserable, relief doesn’t seem possible. Sometimes, something really good has come to an abrupt end, and we can’t imagine life going forward.
Changes in latitudes don’t fix attitudes in the long run. Jesus, on the other hand, can. Here’s the deal. We are made to live in the here and now, today.
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
This doesn’t preclude the idea of a vacation, but it does mean that fantasizing about a new life is not what Jesus has in mind. So, if the answer is Jesus, why is it so hard? Well, first, let’s realize something. Jesus has not said life will be nothing but roses. However, he is still our answer.
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.
Yes, we should strive to change our circumstances but only toward the will of God. Anything other than that will get us in trouble. And, yes, some of us have a much more difficult life than others. We have to be OK with Jesus in how he allows circumstances around us. He has given us everything we need to thrive – to be salt and light to a dark, dark world.
His truth, and he IS truth, is that in him we will find everything we need. Companionship, provision, protection – everything we need, he provides. That is, provided we seek him.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
How do you do that? By immersing yourself in Jesus. Read your bible. Oh, did I mention reading your bible? Pray. Meditate. Journal. Listen to worship music, including the old Gospel songs. Listen to good preaching on the radio. Talk with good friends about Jesus. Tell others about what Jesus has done for you, especially to those who don’t believe. Honestly, it is possible to do your normal daily routine and completely immerse yourself in Jesus. Maybe you’ll find the circumstances around you changing, maybe not. But, I’ll guarantee you’ll find a definite change in you. You’ll find peace. And hope. You’ll find that happiness doesn’t come in a new spouse or job or house or to get away from the snow. You’ll find everything you need right where you are – in Jesus.
One last thing. Jesus DOES want us to dream of a different land.
John 17:24-26 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Certainly, we can ask for change, but settle it in your heart to be content in all things through Jesus Christ who gives you strength. Don’t sacrifice God’s peace because you think you’ll be happy in Florida. Fools do that. Instead, be wise.
Father, send us out to share the gospel. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers