Today’s post is from a friend and fellow writer, Jeremy Riley. Jeremy is currently preparing for the birth of his first child and has grown so much in the short amount of time I initially connected with him. I’m honored to be featuring him here today!

Friends, if you don’t know this by now: life is tough.  

I’ve come up with a life rule that is similar to Murphy’s Law, it’s called the “Life (Sometimes) Sucks” rule.  Sometimes things will simply not go your way, and you have to maneuver out onto a different path.

Sometimes, your car will break down late at night and you have to pay extra to the AAA truck driver to have it towed the extra few miles to the dealership.  Sometimes you will not get everything lined up financially, and you’re scrambling to cover the bases.  Sometimes there might be something worse (God forbid).  Something sinister like death, sin, and evil could be crouched around the corner.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”  Can you relate to that saying?

Maybe you planned to do something great, like become a doctor and cure malaria.  Maybe you planned to do something on a smaller scale, like raise a family and be a rock in your community.  But then life happened.

In my case, my wife and I planned on having our first child.  But even with our great planning, life decided to show up.  Health, finances, and other issues decided to surface, knocking off our best laid plans.

In Proverbs we are told that a person can plan their ways, but ultimately it is God who will establish their steps (16:9).  A king can prepare his horse for war, but victory will belong with God alone (21:31).  It really is tough coming to a place of relying on the Lord.

Quite frankly, I wish life decided to stick to my script.  But you know what?  Sometimes that detour might be a good thing.  Maybe it is in the shadows of the dark valley that we learn something.  

Victor Frankl, the psychologist and Holocaust survivor, noted in his work “Man’s Search For Meaning” that we need to find a redemptive element to the suffering we will undergo in life.  Whether it is in the belly of a death camp or in the uncertainty of unemployment, we need to find meaning in those times.

I tell myself, once I get out of this present shadow, I will never want to go through it again.  But I hope and pray that it will make me better for it.  As Frankl noted, suffering will happen in life, the trick is to find the redemptive aspect of it.  When life shows up and interrupts your plans, I hope you take courage.  I admit, I don’t have all the answers, but the only thing I can cling to is the claim that God rescues people in the darkness.  He leads them through the valley of the shadow of evil with a rod of comfort and guidance.

I just hope he leads me into the pasture soon.

How do you cope when life happens?

7c9b81fd108ed6759a3bfc5517cb7068 Jeremy is  a twenty-something husband, expectant father, and graduate student living the dream in the O.C. Christ-follower. Political junkie. History lover. Book enthusiast. Stand-up desk guy. You can connect with Jeremy via Twitter at @jeremydriley




photo credit: righteecc