Every day I say to God, “please use me for your purposes, through simple ways help me to touch the lives of others.” An experience at the beach with family and friends caused me to reflect on how God can use you and I for His purposes to bless and encourage others in the most simplistic of ways.
I was enjoying a day at the beach with Sara, Pino and some of our friends. Together we were building sandcastles, swimming and soaking up the sun’s rays. After several hours, I decided to go for a walk with my daughter to collect sea shells. While Sara and I strolled along the beach we could see some young boys in the distance playing a game of soccer. As we drew closer to them, we stopped for a moment to watch the soccer game. I noticed that one of the boys was wearing a black and white t-shirt that said, Sweet Years on it. I thought, ‘these are for sure his sweet years’, as being a kid can be one of the best times in life. It is an innocent time, a time with few earthly responsibilities.
As Sara and I were about to leave I glanced over towards the boy wearing the t-shirt and said, “I love the saying on your t-shirt, Sweet Years! If you put God first place in your life all of your years will be sweet.” He gazed back at me, smiled, raised up his thumb, as if agreeing with what I had said. I raised my thumb up as I gestured to him, smiled and left.
As my daughter and I continued to walk along the beach I thought of some of the potential hills and valleys this young soccer player may face should he live to see his senior years of life such as divorce, the loss of a child, the loss of a job, bankruptcy, persecution and illness. How then can I believe that all of his years can be sweet? How can I proclaim this hope to him? I can because my hope is in the Lord and this boy’s hope can be as well. God gives us hope, joy and everlasting promises that can make our lives sweet no matter the circumstances.
This does not mean that our lives will be without sorrow or pain. In fact Jesus told us in John 16:33 (NIV), “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” This promise of Jesus to us is true and it is bitter-sweet. For in the end, God promises in His word that we will live forever, and forever with Him. Both you and I can be living the Sweet Years for all of eternity!
Try to always look for the sweetness in life. Ensure that you make others around you aware of the sweetness that life with God offers. No matter the circumstances, sweetness is a part of living your life for God as He promises to make beauty from ashes and joy out of our sorrow. He provides rest to us when we are weary. He wants us to cast all of our cares unto Him. The only thing we need to do is to walk by faith and to trust and to believe and all of our years will be sweet!
Questions to reflect upon
- How is it even possible to cast all our cares unto God in times of trouble?
- How can times of trouble translate into sweet days, months and years?
- If you are going through troubled times now, how can you take these troubles and give them to God and allow His sweetness to reign?
Make a list of what is sweet in your life. As you reflect upon all of the sweet things in life, watch how quickly your troubles will suddenly seem to be swept away, just as the ocean tide sweeps away the sand.
Scripture to reflect upon
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).
Prayer to reflect upon
Thank you God for all the sweet years you have given to us both now and for eternity! Help us to continue to enjoy these sweet years and to remind others of the sweetness that You have so freely given to all who call upon your name!
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father Which Art in Heaven
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Thy Kingdom Come
Thy Will Be Done
On Earth as it is in Heaven
Give us this Day our Daily Bread
And Forgive Us our Trespasses
As We Forgive Those who Trespass Against Us
Lead Us Not Into Temptation
But Deliver Us From Evil
For Thine is the Kingdom
And the Power and the Glory
Forever and Forever
(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)