Categories
Hope resilience

Unwelcome News

It’s cancer.

You’re fired.

Killed in action.

These are words nobody wants to hear–EVER.

Yet there are times, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” as Rabbi Harold Kushner writes in his book by the same name.

Rabbi Kushner wrote this inspirational classic after his three year old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that meant the boy would only live into his teens. The book reveals the heart of a spiritual leader, father and vulnerable human being as he deals with one of life’s most burdensome questions: Why, God?

It’s a question we find in abundance throughout the Psalms of King David. Like a bookend on a shelf, such a heartfelt inquiry starts Psalm 10.

Why, O Lord do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

Psalm 10:1

Have you ever felt this way? I have. And the question that kept coming to mind was, “Where are you God?” But there was no immediate A after the Q.

Maybe you’ve experienced or know someone who has experienced a similar situation.

  • They were supposed to get promoted, but are out of a job instead.
  • Retired to enjoy their golden years, but then their spouse got sick.
  • Had a marriage that wasn’t supposed to fail, but did.
  • Lost loved ones, seemingly before their time, to a terrible disease.

I don’t intend for this to be a totally downer post, but reality says even the strongest believer can lose hope.

This happened to the disciples during their last meal with Jesus, when he delivered the following unwelcome news: “Guys, I’m about to be killed in action.” He also said He’d come back to life again in three days, but they didn’t hear that part. The Lord lost them at KIA.

In a moment, an ordinary Passover became the Last Supper. “This is NOT how the story is supposed to go!” blurted Peter. But it was already happening. Palm Sunday was about to become Face-Palm Friday.

This feeling persisted even AFTER the resurrection. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus spoke with two followers who said, “We had trusted (past tense) that He was the one to deliver Israel.”

Has anyone else ever been in what seemed like a totally hopeless situation–groping in the dark for answers? I have.

Apparently, King David’s critics like to taunt him with the same question over and over: “Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:3,10) However, they missed something; it was still early in the game. And like Rosabeth Moss Kanter says,

Everything looks like failure in the middle.

Near the end of Psalm 10 there is another book end, and this one isn’t a doubt filled question:

But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand.

Psalm 10:14

God sees.

God knows.

Gods acts.

Now these are words that are welcome–ALWAYS!

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 46:1

Prayer:
Heavenly Father: Today, I choose to remember the dark seasons of my life, and to celebrate the fact that, even then and there, Jesus was all that I really needed. I praise you, God. For even though I was tempted to lose ALL hope, thanks to Your amazing grace I DID NOT!


Need help with resiliency? One of my go to sites is Don’t Lose Hope. It’s an online community focused on betrayal trauma, but addresses other life stressors as well. Please check it out!

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Blog Prayer

Let Down Your Ear

When our oldest son was about four years old, he came up to me one day. Motioning with his little hand he said, “Daddy, let down your ear.”

I knelt down and he told me something–about one of his toys–and I nodded in agreement. But the rest of the day I kept thinking about what he said (let down your ear), until it dawned on me: that’s how it feels sometimes with God! I have something to tell Him, but I can’t tip-toe that high. It’s feels too far. “Father, let down your ear.”

My neighbor is an avid cyclist. One day last year, out on a ride before dawn, he hit the end of a concealed culvert and went over the handlebars of his bike–breaking his neck.

He was care-flighted to a trauma center. Things did NOT look good. Three upper vertebrae were broken when he smashed face first into the pavement, and because he only had limited use of his arms, spinal cord damage was suspected.

I remember thinking, “God, this just can’t be happening. My friend goes on 100 mile rides–just for fun–and now he can’t even feed himself!?”

Our little town quickly mobilized in prayer and support for my neighbor and his family. What a pastor friend calls, “carpet chewing” prayers were going up for my injured friend, but were they reaching God’s throne?

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

1 John 5:14 (NIV)

Of course, He hears our prayers, but have you ever been desperate for good news that was slow to come?

“Father, let down your ear!”

My cycling buddy underwent surgery to fuse the broken vertebrae, and after months of physical therapy, made a almost complete recovery. However, he now rides a three wheel recumbent bike (like pedaling a recliner) on orders from his family!


Young children say the most profound things! Their innocent, literal thinking brains aren’t fogged over by adult cares and responsibilities. At times, they even speak for God (1 Samuel 3).

As a line from the song, Thank God for Kids says, “🎶The closest thing to heaven is a child.🎶”

A few months after my son said, “Daddy, let down your ear,” I opened my bible to Psalm 86, and there it was–almost word for word:

Bow down your ear, O Lord, hear me; For I am poor and needy.

Psalm 86:1 (NKJV)

God used a four-year-old to say the same thing King David prayed over 3000 years ago!

Amazing!

Categories
Christian Living Perspective

Counterbalance

Photo by Jon Sailer on Unsplash

One of my favorite toys on the playground as a kid was the seesaw. Two children, about the same weight, could have endless fun going up and down, up and down. That is until one of the more agile boys perfected a naughty trick: bailing off the seat when it was near the ground. The other kid came crashing down of course, and it was quite a blow to the “bohonkus.” Thus the allure. Once some other mischievous boys caught on (I was one of them), nobody wanted to teeter-totter anymore.

Frankly, I’m a bit bored by the wall-to-wall, “2020 has been such a strange year!” posts. Duh! Tell me something I don’t know, and, while you’re at it, could you please make it part of a compelling story?🙃

Seriously though, it does feel like something bailed off the seat of this calendar year, causing all of us to drop like rocks, and it’s worth talking about.

Searching for biblical applications also sounds like a good idea. My “bohonkus” hurts!

“We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.” 2 Corintians 4:8-9 (GNT)

There must have been seesaws in the first century AD, because Paul absolutely nails how it feels after a free fall. It’s a blow to one’s pride and overall sense of well being after a sudden physical impact.

In other words, this &!#$ pandemic!

Remember those little egg-shaped toys that came out in the 70’s called Weebles? They were weighted at the bottom in such a way that gravity always made them stand back up–no matter how hard you flinked them.

“Weebles” by unloveablesteve is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.”

Here’s the physics teacher explanation: “Tipping an egg-shaped weeble causes a weight located at the bottom center to be lifted off the ground. Once released, gravity brings the weeble back into an upright position. Essentially, there is only one way in which a weeble can achieve mechanical equilibrium.” Source, Wikipedia.

Mechanical equilibrium. I’d like some more of that, please.

“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm. Though he stumbles, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24 (NIV)

Thank God, all of His children are “weighted” in such a way that, though we may wobble, we don’t fall down!

God’s “gravity” works in the spiritual realm, as well as the physical. Just like He said, “Let there be light,” and there was light (Gen. 1:3), the light of Christ shines in our hearts and keeps standing us upright (2 Corinthians 4:6).

There’s just one caveat: we can’t take credit for any of it.

“Yet we who have this spiritual treasure are like common clay pots, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (GNT)

Weebles may not fall down, but they aren’t indestructible. I’m an eyewitness to the fact that they can be crushed by the family station wagon.😳

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing”

Jesus — John 6:63 (NIV)

One hundred years from now we’ll all be dead, and the surreal events of 2020 reduced to a footnote. Sure, there will still be Chambers on the Road, but the rest of us will be but fading blips on the blogosphere.

Only the eternal is REALLY real.


“For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 (GNT)

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash