Desperation and Hope (#586)
Do we accept the desperate circumstances that come upon us, or do we resist them in hope that God will change them? The question comes from a frequent listener to the God Journey and causes Brad and Wayne to wrestle with their own journey of where our faith comes into play in dealing with illness or other difficulties. If we just give in and deal with circumstances as they are does that compromiser faith that God can do something greater? If our hope never comes to pass, have we wasted our effort when we could have been dealing with our crisis? Or maybe our acceptance of circumstances and having hope in God's activity, either in this life or beyond are not mutually exclusive at all. There's no better place for God to lead us than embracing the reality of our circumstances, while looking to him for anything greater he might want to do.
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Your thoughts on this profound issue of seeing God in the midst of suffering are appreciated. I am reflecting on some very dark trials He is walking me through right now….will give me more in the conversation with Him (and perhaps other people).
Always a good area of life to ponder in LOVE. }:- ????
I received a diagnosis about eight years ago. Currently I am in remission from that diagnosis, but recently, with insurance issues about how maintenance medications are to be adminstered, it has put me in a ‘white knuckle’ situation until my next doctor’s visit. Thankfully I am able to function, but in a bit of a funk but not panic.
Leaning on the only ‘rock’ in my life, God, who will get me through this rough patch (until the next one), realizing as you said in the podcast, Brad, it is up to Him, not me, but it is me who has to make the effort to call upon Him. And darn those insurance companies anyway (lol)!
My favourite line in this has been this.
” What is easier… for you to love him… or me to heal him so you don’t have to.”
Ruby from Calmar.
Briliant, such balance, such truth. So encouraging. I am Australian and my Norwegian sister in law was diagnosed with ALS 6 years ago at the age of 33, thank you for this conversation.
Hi, Wayne, Brad. I hear you saying (not in this particular conversation) that “sin it ‘s his own punishment”. I just don’t understand this phrase. What do you mean by that? Can you explain, please? Thank you.
Hi Doina. Thanks for your question. We’re slated to cover that in an upcoming podcast. So stay tuned….
Not sure I’m comfortable with God deciding not to heal someone so someone else can learn a lesson.
I thought the same thing when Brad shared that story. Of course that wouldn’t be God’s heart and it’s probably not what Brad meant to express. But it did sound that way. Whatever lesson God had in mind for Brad it would not influence what God had in mind fro the distressed man. To me that’s the danger of putting God in quote marks. We’re sensing something he is saying to us but can express it in a way that would seem to misrepresent his heart for others nearby.
The oomph upon the inward voice wasn’t of God not healing that person in order to teach Brad a lesson; it had to do with the reason Brad wanted the guy healed! He wanted God to “heal him so you don’t have to.”…love him. Sounds like God was cutting to the core issue for Brad. We tend to displace priorities rather self righteously: chiefly, loving people but not at the express interest of self preference. Sacrifice of self is often necessary in order to love. Love, after all, is the greatest. God was apparently reshaping Brad’s expectations to better comprehend his love. God’s love within and us loving mankind as a result is the core action of the new covenant; Jesus was simply renewing a mind to better see love through a much larger lens. And from what I have heard from Brad upon this podcast over this past decade, it does appear much internal change has occurred over that time. Another thing to ponder is that often an internal quip from God which reshapes one mind concerning his love usually doesn’t resonate with everyone. I have pretty much stopped “oversharing” as I had done in the past because of that very reason. Personal experience, vantage point, place of trust, love received, etc. all help shape us into God’s image, and that process is very different for all of us. Sharing statements like Brad’s outside of the context of one’s own actual conversation removes certain expressive elements from the communion which would normally have take place. But since it was Brad’s own personal experience, it is also part of his story. Perhaps God will walk you through a corridor of better understanding his comment; until then, just sit it upon a shelf for later contemplation. It appears to me, God is already at work within you and renewing your mind; hang in there, there’s plenty of authorship from Jesus coming, enjoy the journey!
“Do we accept the desperate circumstances that come upon us, or do we resist them in hope that God will change them?”
Thinking about this topic – and many others – I tend to place the concept in the middle of the worst imaginable circumstance to see if it would fit in that place. I could be misplaced in the way I am trying to frame this, but for now I do this because I hear of these circumstances and the confusion, doubt, uncertainty and trauma it creates. I realize that for most of us, we will not likely experience such ongoing inescapable horrific ordeals; and what we face is more likely an illness, a death, divorce, financial ruin…which can still be gut-wrenching and traumatic! Nonetheless, and fitting or not, I still tend to look for something that works no matter the severity of the circumstance.
So, if someone was in some regularly unimaginable horrific experience, what would they do? I think most of us, if not all of us, would instinctively want out of it and be delivered from what we are facing. And then realizing one cannot escape it, maybe try and accept it and learn new ‘wine skins’, or give in to apathy and complacency.
Eventually, given the severity of the situation our brain, in a self-protective reflex, would likely disassociate to varying degrees. Often times because the pain of the now is so great that our brain acts like a circuit breaker and trips the circuit (I think people’s threshold is different depending on the personality and the training and nurturing they have experienced prior to the circumstance(s)). At this point I think our ability to have an active control in trying to participate in the journey of whatever God may try to do in that person, short-term and long-term, is limited and impeded. Not sure that looking for the relationship with Him is the ultimate thing someone is looking for, or even able to do, in these places to find some sort of peace. I tend to think that person wants out, and that is the greatest hope.
Saying all this, I wonder if the answer to the beginning question is – it depends. Maybe, for some of us our hope is a change of circumstance (healing, restored relationship, etc…)…for others, it’s a change of perspective and acceptance…and others, our hope is to experience life out of and beyond this world, and hopefully living in heaven (no more pain, suffering, tears, illness…).
Some 7 years ago my wife put a little wooden sign up on our wall. It was made by a neighbor who was enduring any number of major life changing disruptions from recovering from a major auto accident with chronic back pain to cheating husband, and on and on.
The saying was, “Stop telling God how big your storm is. Show the storm how big your God is.”
Why do we waste so much time and effort in attempting to feel the pain and agony of our trials, and spend so little real effort in discovering the living reality of the creator? Seems to me Jesus referred to that when he asked why we should even be concerned if everything we know would fail. Don’t we take him seriously? What if we refocused our lives on the solution and quit glorifying the problems? Asking God to heal and fix our problems so we don’t have to deal with them is a cop out of major proportions. And it is unspiritual, to boot.
God gives us nothing we can’t handle if we determine to follow his guidance. Taking the rocks out of our shoes is harder than climbing mountains, and more valuable. In fact, the challenges of great mountains seem trivial to those who have learned to overcome the pains of our own failings. Faith is real, not simply a belief. But it must be experienced.
Keep the family in prayer. Share resources with them. Thats an action answer.
One day at a time.
We have no idea of the difficulty, none. We can hold the hope for others in their despair and suffering. People loose their feelings physiologically in illness, depression. They can no longer even feel the blessed hope. May man judge a sick person, cause they really have zero idea of the difficulty day in and day out.
Love them with action.
Hold the Hope for them.
Pray on their behalf.
Be simple, love with your hands, eyes and ears.
Above all, speak love, life and mercy. They cannot perform for you, don’t be self centered and disguise agendas of love.
Ask Christ to fill you with His love that brings freedom, acceptance and understanding.