Troubled Times?

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Around 4 pm yesterday the sky darkened, the rumble of thunder warned of the storms to come. Then, there were torrents of rain and gusts of wind.  If I had not lived through prior storms I might have concluded that the ruin of the earth was imminent.  But, as we know, the storms pass. And, I awakened this morning to blue skies and bright sunshine! The weather is a parable for my life.  48 hours have brought disappointment, death, and an awful inner pain. Around 5 pm yesterday, when my heart broke under the weight of it all, I chose to look up and forward – knowing that the Son will shine with hope again when the storm passes.

Paul wrote to his friends in the church at Corinth, telling them of his recent trials. “We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. And He did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us.” (2 Corinthians 1:8 NLT)  In case you do not know his story, he is not being dramatic, nor are his words hyperbolic. Because of Christ, Paul had been beaten, rejected, and left for dead … and through it all he learned not to rely on himself, but on God!

If you’re carrying a heavy weight of disappointment today, do not fall into the errors made by too many Christians.

Don’t minimize your pain.
“So many have it worse than I do.” That may be true, but you are where you are and comparing your troubles to those experienced by others is not really all that helpful.

Don’t slap a verse on the wound!
Christians love to find a verse in the Bible and quote it as if that solves the whole problem.  The truth of Scripture is a wonderful and powerful medicine for sick souls, but God’s Word is not a Band-Aid™.  Some wounds have to be cleansed with love, given time to heal, and just perhaps treated by the compassionate care of others. Just as a wound improperly treated can fester with infection, a heart wound that is covered over with superficial sentiments can turn toxic.

Stop trying to ‘make sense’ of it all.
“Everything happens for a reason.” I believe if one more person says that to me as if it were truly helpful, I just might scream. We love to write “The End” on our stories, wrapping up the plot line with a nice resolve, where everything makes sense and finds a purpose: Nice, except for the inconvenient fact that life does not work that way.  The story of our lives is known only in full to God Himself. Some of our experiences will find no explanation while we are in this place of linear time and limited understanding. That is why we need faith. Faith bridges the gap between what I experience and God’s promises. Accept the mystery.

Don’t try to rush to a conclusion.
Life is meant to be lived fully. That includes laughing heartily, loving deeply, and giving time to the processes of maturation. Oh yes, I am often a man in a hurry. I feel uneasy when I have to live with unresolved conflict, with unanswered questions, with chronic pain.  But, God is an Eternal Being and in the memorable words of Peter, He is not constrained by our sense of time. “With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.”  (2 Peter 3:8-9)

Pray for increased resources to meet the challenge instead of quick release from it.
Will you let Him use you to display His grace and power?  That is not a question to answer quickly. We admire Job, not because he found a quick solution to his suffering, but because he struggled through it and let God be God.  Pastor Rick Warren says “There is no hero without hardship.” God can make you stand. God can keep you in a place where you honor Him – sometimes with deliverance and sometimes with amazing grace in all that we call ‘life.’

Are you troubled? Don’t give up. Wait out the storm, with faith! Jesus knows the struggle. He is our compassionate Savior, our Advocate and Intercessor. Trust Him.

Here is a word from the Word. May it inspire you with courage for this day.  “Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll— are they not in your record? Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise— in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:8-11, NIV)

__________

Just Be Held

Hold it all together ev’rybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on
And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

 So when you’re on your knees
And answers seem so far away
You’re not alone
Stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart
It’s falling into place
I’m on the throne stop holding on and just be held
Just be held just be held

 If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will
And not a tear is wasted
In time you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

 Lift your hands lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me find your rest
In the arms of a God who won’t let go

 Just be held
Just be held

Bernie Herms | Mark Hall | Matthew West © 2013 My Refuge Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)Be Essential Songs (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)Highly Combustible Music (Admin. by One77 Songs c/o Kobalt Songs Music Publishing (ASCAP))

House of Story Music Publishing (Admin. by One77 Songs c/o Kobalt Songs Music Publishing (ASCAP))

CCLI License # 810055

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