I've been pretty impressed with how the students are responding to book. We don't require that they read it, but most of them have anyway. Every week we answer some questions on a couple of chapters. So far we have discussed topics like time management, prayer life, and family issues- figuring out that pushing your family's 'buttons' is a way the enemy gets a hold in our life.
This week's topic dealt with the 'troughs and peaks' in our walk with Christ. (Most people call them the valley/desert and mountaintop times) We discussed how ALL followers have both experiences and that it's okay to be in a trough sometimes. They concluded from their own lives that being in a trough sometimes brings the greatest strength in our relationship with Christ because you have to work harder at it. One student gave the example that you don't get very strong lifting a 2lb weight, but if you trade that in for a 20lb weight your muscles will ache at first but grow quickly! That is exactly what CAN happen in those trough moments if we allow them to happen.
Unfortunatley many of us enter a trough time in our life and think God has abandoned us. We get the idea that just because we are having a bad day or because life isn't going well that God has left us to fend for ourself. People begin going back to what they knew before they were introduced to Jesus- maybe not extreme cases like alcohol or drugs, but maybe selfishness or business? I know in my trough moments I try to busy myself with projects and busywork so I don't have to think of how junky my life is right then. My thoughts turn inward to how I can fix what's going on instead of looking to God for support and wisdom.
This week I challenged the class to think about the troughs and peaks they have experienced and to thank God that He has given them both experiences. Then I asked them to pray and ask that during this Christmas and New Years season when so many around us are depressed or lonely or feeling a trough moment, that God would reveal to them a hurting person. Maybe a family member, neighbor, friend, or even cashier at the store is going through a trough moment and God wants to use one of those students to get them through it.
Life can't be lived on the peaks- it's nice for a season and the snow is pretty, but life is lived in the troughs. If we never delve into the trough, who will we ever reach? Very few "unbelievers" are on the peaks, THEY LIVE IN THE TROUGH!!! So I will challenge you and me to do the same thing I've challenged my students with. Pray that God shows you someone in the trough this next week or two (or fifty two) and help them understand that it's okay to be there- God is NOT far away if you will just look for Him!