The places grace empowers us
Thu May 23, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
From prison to ReTrain: Russell’s story
Mon May 20, 2013
9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
In the Face of Trouble, Who Are You?
For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. - Psalm 22:24
I went to the doctor yesterday and was told I needed surgery. This is not a particularly unique event in many people’s lives. It happens every day. It has happened to me 15 other times in my 4 decades of life. Despite the frequency of this news, the blow is always felt.
I hate getting bad news. So much of our lives are spent trying to avoid or protect against it, but dealing with pain and disappointment is a daily occurrence on the face of this imperfect and fallen world.
Who do you become in the face of adversity?
Worst-Case Scenario Woman
This is the woman who immediately upon hearing difficult news goes off the deep end, filling in the blanks with a myriad of outcomes, all equally horrific. There is a strange illusion of control and comfort that goes along with catastrophizing life so as to brace yourself from the inevitable. A dear friend of mine described it as “walking way too far down the road of fear and shaking hands with all of the possible scenarios that live there.”
Worst-Case Scenario Woman isn’t simply preparing herself for what may come–she is sinning. Her heart is revealed in these difficult moments and her distrust in God is speaking loudly. If this describes you (and it certainly does me over the last 24 hours), we would do well to completely derail the thought train of speculation and disaster and simply state to ourselves truth. Truly, our current trouble may feel like too much, but it never is for God. I can’t maintain my life through this trial but God promises to sustain me in it.
So much of our lives are spent trying to avoid or protect against it, but dealing with pain and disappointment is a daily occurrence on the face of this imperfect and fallen world.
At first glance, Miss Minimizer may seem to be invincible, able to leap over trouble in a single bound. Or... she may just be faking. She may say things like, “It’ll be okay, no big deal,” because she has giant faith. Or, she may be downplaying trauma because to truly feel the pain of the difficulty may seem weak, vulnerable, or just too hard. Asking for help, embracing hurt or feeling the depth of the pain seems impossible, or at the very least, messy. Miss Minimizer hates messes.
This woman lives on the other end of the spectrum from WCS woman, but her core heart struggle is the same. She wants to control her world just as much as her dramatic counterpart. She desires desperately to have life tied up in a neat package, but God doesn’t promise us a beautiful wrapping and bright bows. Her heart trusts in her ability to manage circumstances and master emotions. God longs for Miss Minimizer to break and cry out to Him in the darkness.
In the pain and struggle of life, what does our heart cling to? Comfort, control, or the cross of Christ?
There is a third woman whom I was introduced to this morning after Worst-Case Scenario Woman simmered down just a bit. She is a beautiful woman who finds her identity in the name of Daughter. She is utterly dependent on her Father for truth in the midst of trial. She is tethered to the promises from her Father when the bottom falls out of her world.
She will experience disappointment, but it will not devastate her. She will receive bad news with grace and hope because she knows her God and finds comfort in his presence. She will relinquish control as she rests in this truth:
- For the love of Christ controls us because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. - 2 Cor. 5: 14-15