Friday, November 13, 2009
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world" John 16:33
(words of Jesus)
For the next several weeks I plan on writing and videoing about Robert's newly released book, "Leaning Into God When Life Is Pushing You Away." As of this past week it is available where they sell books across America or on amazon.com After some thought I decided that the forward alone contained a very significant life message and so I am starting there.
My husband writes that at the time he began writing this book life was fairly predictable and routine. He was the senior pastor of the worldwide church, The Crystal Cathedral and he was filling shoes that had been picked out for him long ago. He assumed that he would lead that church well into the future, at least until he reached retirement age. Then came that fateful day of July 9, 2008 when decisions were made and everything he thought of as certain and predictable came crashing down. My intention here is not to revisit what happened but rather to discuss the realities of life. "Stuff Happens" (as the bumper sticker so eloquently states!) It's how we react to the 'stuff' that can either cause us to become better, wiser people or angry, bitter people.
I am guessing that many of you (if not all of you) can think back at a time when you were going about your business living your life and "pow" in a flash things changed for you. Maybe it was a diagnosis of a serious health situation? Or perhaps it was the sudden ending of a relationship that you thought was a forever thing? Possibly it was a terrible accident that left you lost and wondering why?
I can still remember the color of the sky, feel the temperature, and smell the scents in the air, and the people present in my house when I experienced my first run-in with how uncertain life can be. At just 13 years old my mom awoke me and my 10 year old brother very early on a Saturday morning. She sat us down and through her tears she shared with us that my father had been killed in a car accident the night before. One minute he was healthy and happy, the next he was gone. He was only 40 years old. Needless to say this tragedy altered the direction of our lives forever and through my pain I had to choose between leaning into God or running away. I chose the later. I reacted to my suffering in a way Robert mentions in his book. I felt hurt and angry and I internalized that I must have done something wrong or God wouldn't have taken my dad away from me. I remember the non-stop messages that ran through my head for what seemed like years. "If only I had not been so selfish hanging out with my friends and instead spent time with him that Friday night, he wouldn't have been in the accident." Or..."Maybe he isn't really dead but he is so brain-injured that no one wants to tell me the truth." These are just a couple of the things I told myself over and over but both of these were lies because of my lack of trust in a God who loved me. I just didn't have a mature enough relationship with God to allow Him to help me through so I created more suffering for myself instead of leaning into Him as my comforter.
How many of you have had a similar response to something tragic in your life? Did you lean into God or did you(like me)run away? Consider sharing how you handled your pain and if you didn't what did you do and how have you learned to trust God and lean into Him today? My prayer and my desire is to have your stories offer hope to those in need of some encouragement. Whether or not we respond to one another isn't important. There are many people who read this that we will never know but God knows who needs a note of hope today.
We all have "stuff" happen, there's no avoiding it. When adversity strikes, and it will, we can learn from our experiences and move forward. We can become great examples of how God's unfailing love can and will get us through anything.
In your laughter and in your tears, God is blessing you, Donna