Some people let life happen to them, other people make life happen. It is a simple concept but it has the potential to change your life. I mentioned in one of the previous blogs that Ruth and I hosted three wonderful pianists who stayed with us over the last two weeks. These three young men have play all over the world and thrill audiences whenever they play by their sheer talent and technical skills. Around four or five years old they started playing the piano and today each of them is living his dream. They had a vision for their lives and they followed that vision step by step until they reached their goal. They are true examples of people who don’t allow life to just happen to them. They made life happen for them.

I know some of the readers of this blog have tremendous struggles either over finances, health issues, family quarrels, marriage problems or just learning to trust in God. I also know that from the safety and security of my own home it is very easy to dole out suggestions on how to deal with some of these issues. I’ve thought very carefully what I would write in trying to answer some of the emails I’ve received on these matters. The truth is I don’t have a magic bullet to give you that will heal the pain and make everything alright.

However, there are a few lessons I have learned the hard way that have helped me deal with disappointment, failure, and pain in my own life. I’ve learned that if anyone tells me they have all the answers, they don’t. Belonging to a certain denomination, believing in a pile of doctrines, or living life according to set pattern of directives doesn’t free you from suffering and anguish. In fact trying to become someone you aren’t may even contribute to your feelings of low self-esteem or discouragement. What I have learned is that I need to take my problems to Christ in prayer. I’ve also learned that I need to stop trying to solve all my own problems and let God direct my path. (Psalm 119: 35, 105; Prov. 4: 18; 15: 24; Jer.31: 9; Psalm 17: 5)

I once heard a pastor say we are all going somewhere, but only a few end up there by design. Those words couldn’t be more true. In the last post I talked about getting from point A to G by taking one step at a time. This is a secret that every successful person has followed who has overcome their circumstances to become the person they envision for themselves. This is how we end up where we want to be by design. If you have a vision of how you want your life, then you have to work at it, it’s as simple as that. You do the doable and build the expertise and knowledge along with the courage to take the next step. But, every step you take, you make by faith, trusting in God that He has your best interest at heart and wants to see you succeed.

God has a plan for your life and no matter how many times we have allowed ourselves to be swerved off that path God comes looking for us and leads us back to safety. His vision for our life is eternity and He will see us through if we only trust Him to guide our footsteps. Yes, life has hard knocks and some of them, such as the loss of a loved one, are devastating but God is there. Life doesn’t have to happen to you, you can make life happen when you trust in God to guide your vision and your journey. I wish after all I’ve written I could say you’ll get the job you want, or your children will become closer, or your marriage will heal, but we all know that is not always the case.

So, that leads me to the greatest lesson I’ve learned on how to deal with problems. God doesn’t always answer the way I want, so I’ve learned that through the storms of life, what is really important is to seek the will of God. I might not understand why I developed MS, for example, but I have learned to trust my future to God’s care, and I know because of the blood-soaked cross God loves me unconditionally and will never let me go. Life can either happen to you or you can make life happen by God’s grace.

Be courageous, be strong. No regrets, no retreat.