When the news is not so good…

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Into every life, some rain must fall.

All of us are familiar with that simple statement, or at least fully acquainted with the truth it expresses!  Bad news, tough times and difficult circumstances come into our lives from time to time.  No one is exempt entirely, and truth be told, some seem to experience more than their share.  How do we as followers of Christ respond to these trials?  What does our response say about what it means to trust Him and give thanks in and for all things?  Like the prophet Habakkuk reminds us, even when the wheels appear to be falling off, “yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18).

So I have been trying to process how differently people work through those times when life gets harder, when the events of the day make you step back and regroup.  Although there are many shades of difference, the primary reactions I see fall into just a few categories:  anger, anxiety, paralysis, resignation and assurance.

Anger usually stems from a sense that we have a right not to have troubles come our way and resent it when they do–not exactly a reaction that honors the Lord and trusts that He is still in control.

Anxiety seems to be the most dominant response as people begin to dream up all kinds of awful possible scenarios that could flow out of the troubles–again, not a reaction that demonstrates trust in the Lord.

Paralysis often grips those who react emotionally and find themselves consumed with fears and tears that trap them in an emotional box that prevents them from moving forward for indeterminate periods of time–hardly a healthy way to deal with trouble!

Resignation gives the appearance of trust but actually only disguises an unbelieving fatalistic perspective, a cover-up and suppression of emotions, or a numb indifference cultivated through years of coping with life in a fallen world–not an honest reaction but one which tries to present a facade of trust when in fact it simply covers a view of God that assumes He cannot really be counted on to prevail in a fallen world.

Assurance arises from a view of trouble that rests in confidence that God is now and has always been in complete control, or as one friend said recently, “He is God and knows stuff you don’t!”–and the evidence that this assurance is real, not just another version of resignation is the presence of peace and joy in the middle of the storm.

Trouble will always be just around the corner in a fallen world.  Unwanted surprises will always await us just when we would prefer smooth seas.  But how we react speaks volumes about the character of Christ in us.  “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine,” should be the reaction we aspire to have in and through all circumstances as we rise up rejoicing, confident that we can know that God knows best and can be trusted–no matter what we see, He sees the end He has in mind and is faithfully working toward that end.  We can know that the end result of our trials and troubles will be His glory and our good.  And that is sufficient for us to be assured, confident, peaceful and joyful whatever may come!

3 thoughts on “When the news is not so good…

    tanya@truthinweakness said:
    October 24, 2011 at 10:44 am

    amen & amen. soon after my health adventure began last fall, i heard this quote, and it was such a comforting reminder that trials are truly precious opportunities to be drawn into a deeper dependence on the Lord.

    “Every cross is a message from God and intended to do us good in the end. Trials are intended to make us think, to wean us from the world, to send us to the Bible, to drive us to our knees. Health is a good thing, but sickness is far better if it leads us to God. Prosperity is a great mercy, but adversity is a greater one if it brings us to Christ.”
    – JC Ryle

    there is, indeed, incredible freedom & joy when we die to self, & allow Christ to reign supreme within us.
    thanks, as always, for the gulps of truth,
    tanya zelem

      davidhhorner responded:
      October 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      Thank you so much! I love J. C. Ryle and that quote is excellent.

    Andy Beal said:
    October 24, 2011 at 9:51 am

    If I’m not careful, I try to work harder at the problem, as if I can somehow fix things by myself. Then, with the help of Sheila, I remember the message you taught in October 1998–which ultimately led me to Christ–and that God is not an emergency box that should only be opened when we have exhausted all other options. Instead, I keep God close to hand, turn to Him first, and take peace in the fact that He is in control of every aspect of my life.

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