Tag Archive | tragedies

let the rest go.

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 hopefor a promotion; hoping for the best; hope so.

Here is their archaic definition:

: TRUST

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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when things go wrong.

When things go wrong in our lives, when things hurt, we don’t like it.

It’s normal.

One thing that helped me move a little past personal tragedies is realizing things have been going wrong in a whole lot of lives for centuries. Why did I think I was immune?

One reason is American thinking. We can be a driven culture with success in our sights. We have so much in terms of possessions and opportunities compared to other times and places, we can get thrown off when something goes wrong. We want to fix it. We want a solution. And the quicker the better.

But things like grieving do not allow it. It’s slow and methodical. Not very American.

Add to that a kingdom minded, serving, giving, doing church mindedness, and grieving better not take too much time.

Additionally, I was a committed and dedicated Christian who believed in intercessory prayer. I meant business.

It’s not that I do not believe in prayer now. It’s just that now, I don’t believe it can change as much as I thought. And if you also prayed and believed it would keep the devil at bay (aka pretty much removed from too much bad stuff happening to you), anchoring yourself to Psalm 91, take heart.

Prayer is good. But trusting God is better.

One of the most important things to do after a tragedy in your life, after you have cried all the tears, is take a step back. Our pain causes us to focus intently on ourselves. This  can go on too long.  I believe we are wired to take that step back but sometimes we just don’t want to.

When we do, we realize we are not alone. Pain is universal.

This helps. Misery likes company? Kind of.

One of the difficulties of pain is: what do we do with it? We take a pill for headaches. We go to the dentist for a toothache. What is the remedy for emotional pain?

God.

Not an unnamed force or higher power who has left you without words of comfort, strength, and guidance. But one who knows how we are made – what works and what doesn’t.

Our hearts yearn for connection with our Creator and there are no substitutes. He is the key that unlocks the questions and supplies the answers of the human heart.

And even though we won’t have all the answers to our questions, trusting Him with what we do not understand is an answer in itself.

And Psalm 91? I only  saw the deliverance from snares and pestilence part.

Now I see the words refuge, shelter, rest, faithfulness … my God, in whom I trust.

This is where we put our pain and heartache. This is how God walks through it with us.

The stark chill of tragedies will come and try to destroy you. You will want to succumb to it. God doesn’t want you to.

He wants you to know His care for you and how He can help you to persevere…when things go wrong.

frozen tulips 3

 

 

 

the power of being thankful.

There is real power in being thankful.

We know how to exercise our body to improve balance, tone, flexibility, strength, and over all health.

Did you know there is an exercise for our minds? If you feed it with dwelling on your situation, it is the same as not reasonably taking care of your physical body.

When I become overwhelmed with discouragement, everything looks grim. But when I pause and think about the beauty in the midst of sorrow, it lifts me out of despair. When I choose to give someone more benefit than doubt, I am a happier person.

That’s because I have not allowed that situation access to destroying me. Being thankful for the good that has come my way gives me a better outlook on life.

This isn’t “positive thinking”. It is a deeper, genuine, heart-felt moment of gratefulness.

Our emotions have a purpose, but we can’t live with them being the sole navigator of our thoughts. God gave us emotions (he has them, too) but he also gave us the ability to think reasonably.

You might have good reason to be angry. Set it aside for 1 minute. Let your thoughts go to what you are thankful for.

Dealing with tragedies do take longer. There is horrific, destructive pain out there. No one who loses a loved one is comforted by thinking (or being told) “at least you had them for a time”. No. You want them back and that’s all you feel.

It’s okay. God is not in a hurry. And what I have found is he brings small moments of brightness to your life when you aren’t expecting it. Gently and softly he touches your wounded heart with tender care. People often do not do this for us so don’t be upset. Some people expect more from Christians. It’s understandable because we expect compassion, care, and essentially, love.  It is what it is. Don’t let people define how God does things.

You can conquer the reality of your situation through how you think.

Practice being thankful and watch what happens.

ndbutter / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

ndbutter / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

God is with us.

How is one gone and one spared in tragedies such as this?

It is a question we’ve all asked.

And the answer is: we don’t know.

Some people get very angry at God for this. I get that.

But ultimately, we have to reconcile yourself to the fact that there are mysteries we do not understand. God is close enough to us that we can experience him, but far away enough that we can’t grasp him.

It’s not one or the other. It’s both.

And to accept this is to trust him.

When you do that, you have peace.

god is with us

The Bible talks about the trials and tragedies of life in a broken world that is not perfected.

But it also talks about the beauty of life.

Know this for certain: God is with us.

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to all the moms.

I know the planning, working, and sacrifice that you’re doing at Christmas time. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming.

You may be a mom who is struggling to make ends meet and make your family happy. For some, it is a thankless job because it’s not noticed.

I notice.

More importantly, God notices.

Mothers smile when they are crying inside. They set the tone in the home and put the special touches on everything they do. And if you’ve lost  a child, or your home, or a husband, life has stopped for you.

I know it hurts. Why you?

I don’t know. All I know is that God does comfort and carry us through tragedies.

Let him.

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You will survive.

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