When facing tragedies as a Christian, I have discovered it is really important to embrace the core beliefs of the scripture and let “the rest” go.
The core beliefs are the scriptures that have been understood for centuries. They have been the buoyancy which has carried the nearly drowning soul since the beginning of time. And with some simple research, we can find the men and women who have rested in God’s provision to sustain them through the suffering of loss, failure, and heartache.
“The rest” can mean something different to a lot of people because there are many views within Christianity – interpretations of scripture, emphasis on certain topics, etc.
Despite the differences, Jesus Christ and him crucified is not in dispute and that is a good thing. And since losing Christopher, I have found myself time and time again, returning to the Apostle Paul’s words:
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
That’s because “the rest” was and has been meaningless, noisy, and distracting to my shocked and confused mind.
If you don’t really know what I mean, you are likely to know if you find yourself standing at the threshold of some real suffering. Jesus is the only one who can calm the storm. There was nothing in me to “speak to the wind and the waves”.
Yes, me, of little faith.
Tragedies have a way of reducing us to running on low power and we only need some basics to keep functioning.
One way of thinking in Christian circles is the emphasis on faith and/or positive thinking/speaking. Both fit nicely in the American culture of don’t give up, you’ve got this, keep on keeping on – all positive, good advice.
Combine this with the scripture and you might begin to think you’re invincible from tragedies. Maybe this is why so many of us go on so long with questions, causing us further pain.
Maybe if you’re reading this, the mountain moved for you.
But what about the mountain that did not move for someone else?
I remember praying Psalm 91 for years, paying particular attention to the part that says, … no evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your dwelling.
I really believed my diligent, committed, watchman-on-the-wall type prayers put protection around us and our property. After all, the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous accomplishes much, right?
In time, I realized (since I know God is the one who shows us) the protection around us was how God protected us through the tragedy of losing a son and a brother.
This isn’t a cop-out. I am fully aware of how we can justify anything to make us feel better. But if you are tempted to think you didn’t have enough faith, you didn’t pray enough, you must have sinned, well, those are Job’s comforters’ words (and we all know how that went).
God showed me a lot during those days and he still does. Because He is all I had.
He is all you have, too.
We cannot keep analyzing what we have believed all our lives, even if it’s through what we learned through a church sermon, class, or conference.
We have to dig deeper when we’re alone in our grief. Because well meaning people think they understand or know the answer. They don’t.
Only God does.
And the digging deeper is not weeks or months of researching. It’s actually pretty simple:
No matter how you feel, settle it now that all things are in God’s hands and you will trust Him no matter what. Then watch what happens.
If you resist, you block his help. Not because He doesn’t want to help because He is with us always. But He is watching and waiting.
Ever try and help a toddler who doesn’t want your help? Kinda like that.
All throughout history and even now, humankind suffers. It’s a fact of life that all Christians have to come to terms with or you will be bitter the rest of your life. Bitter, because you will always be searching for the answer to fit your paradigm; the way you think or the way you’ve been taught.
But the Bible tells us God’s ways are not our ways and he does not think the way we do.
Sometimes, I think our suffering does not find the relief God offers because we are trying to get out of it. That’s normal. Who likes pain? No one.
Particularly in America where we have so much when you think about it. We’ve grown accustomed to getting what we want or getting our way. We expect it. We even demand it.
This doesn’t mean we should embrace suffering as if it makes us more worthy or holy. There is more to the story of our lives and there is a good ending to be played out in eternity. God gives us this hope. Every Christian knows this.
It is not hope the way we think about it – “I hope this or that happens”.
Merriam Webster dictionary defines hope like this:
: to cherish a desire with anticipation : to want something to happen or be true hopes for a promotion; hoping for the best; I hope so.
Here is their archaic definition:
Interesting how the passage of time changes meaning. Has the scripture’s meaning changed, too? Causing too many to question for too long?
We hope because we trust. We trust God is who he says he is and he will do what he says he will do.
Anything less is temporary and disappoints.
Isn’t it time to set aside the questions that go around and around in your thoughts? This is not what God wants for you. He wants you to know there is rest for your tired soul.
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