The past three weeks have been the most difficult I have ever gone through. I know I am not alone. As trying as the last three weeks have been for me, I know some people who have dealt with far more for far longer. But that doesn t change the fact that this has been painful for me and my wife. In the face of all this, I can honestly say I feel no pressure to be the pastor and have the answer for this. Honestly, even as a pastor, I have no answer for this. My questions before God about the reality of what my family has experienced over the last three weeks are the exact same questions anyone would ask. Not only am I okay asking those questions, but I think there is something holy and sacred in being courageous enough to ask them.Sony stereo receiver hookup
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Don t be fooled, those questions are only to be asked by the courageous. It is easy to spout trite Christian platitudes designed to make people feel better with bumper-sticker theology. It is more courageous to ask the hard questions of God and wait for him to answer than it is to find hope on the side of coffee mug. Asking those questions requires courage because, in the end, it is very likely they will not be answered. Ultimately, it isn t about the questions. Behind the questions is a deep current of emotion threatening to overtake us. But too often, when the fracture in the universe threatens to swallow us up in pain we fail to get fully present to our emotions. In those moments I think we do one of two things. Either we ask the questions but never investigate what emotion is driving those questions, or we resort to some banal Christian slogan to try and make us feel better. This experience forced me to look at one such statement that gets spouted often when people go through a lot: God won t give you more than you can handle. If I may be so bold, let s just call that what it is: Limp, anemic sentiments will not stand in the face of a world that is not as it should be. Now that I have said how I feel, let me back up this argument with some actual Biblical evidence. This particular statement, that God won t give you more than you can handle, isn t even in the Bible. There is a statement that sounds like it. 6 Corinthians 65: 68 says, No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humankind. And God is faithful he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But notice that verse is about temptation. That s it. You won t be tempted beyond what you can stand up against. This text is not saying that you will not experience more than you can bear. That idea just isn t Biblical.
If anything the exact opposite is true. Look at this text. For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (,, emphasis mine). Later, Paul will write it is when he is weak that the strength of Christ is seen. In other words, when we can t do it any longer. When we are fed up. When it has become too much. When we have nothing left. When we are empty. When it is beyond our capability to deal with it. Then, in that moment, the strength of the God of resurrection will be seen. Until we get to that point, we rely on ourselves thinking we can handle it and take care of the problem. Don t hear me saying I am rejoicing because of the last couple of weeks. I am not. Not once have I danced around our house shouting, Yeah suffering! Instead, in the midst of pain and hurt, I am actively expecting God to do something. I don t know what. I don t know when. But I am expecting the God of resurrection to heal us. I am expecting God to restore us. I am expecting him to redeem this situation.
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I am expecting him to do this and so I will be actively looking and waiting for him to do something. I believe expectant waiting can only happen when we exchange our feeble platitudes for an authentic faith that engages God with the full brunt of our emotion and pain. Only then can salvation been seen. My heart aches and my tears are falling for your family right now praying for healing and peace. Please hug Sarah for me really tight! Love you guy! Thanks. My ten year old daughter recently died from cancer. As clergy, myself, it was nice to hear your words articulate my thoughts. Now to educate the masses And, I do not think my heartache can be redeemed on this earth. Sometimes, there is sorrow that just lives with us Lynn, I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. I cannot imagine the pain and heartache you and your family are experiencing. May grace and peace be yours in abundance. Reading your comment reminded me of an article I read earlier today: ). I appreciated the use of language. Jesus, himself, was often perceived as scandalous with his choice of words. I often go too far the other way to make the following point: are we more we concerned with HOW something is said or WHAT is actually being conveyed? My church experience suffering amidst the body of Christ, has made certain proprieties niceties both tiresome and circuitous. I m a straight shooter. There is TOO much suffering to cluck cluck about the alter pieces talk around the elephant standing in the church baptismal font. To use a be-platitude: be the change you want to see.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. The Greek word there (skubala) is usually translated into English as garbage, rubbish, or filth was considered a vulgar word in the Greek, and literally meant something along the lines of crap or shit. So, yes, Paul really did include a profanity. I see only whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable- if there is any moral excellence and if there is praise-dwell on these things. This was from The Apologetics study Bible. Hi Amy, I personally would like to defend Nate on the language he used. In my opinion it was used to emphasize the depths of his pain. I lost one of my twin boys last year and therefore know the place he is in: the full breadth of pain. A place I pray you never have to visit. To lose a child is indescribable, unbearable and unrelenting and absolutely not right. I noticed that (language), also, but tried not to judge. Lynn, my hearts aches to hear your news. May God bless you with a double portion of God s spirit as you struggle with your grief. God is going to use you on his kingdom in such a mighty way. May he bless you and give you comfort during your time of need. Thankyou for your storyWell said. I myself dwelt too much in expectation of an intervention of kingdom now for years, leading eventually to an exquisite pain of disillusionment and despondency. More recently I have seen more clearly what you are expressing here in your response it really is about what Paul calls the great and precious promises of a future restoration which our hope is meant to be anchored in. True. I think people want to try to make us feel better with their words. But those who hurt, don t want their hurt minimized, or to be told it isn t so bad as something else, or how they ought to feel.
No. It s BAD. That s all I know right now. People need to be taught that it is best to acknowledge how bad the hurt is, how sorry they are, and cry with them. If someone tries to say something to cheer me up when I really hurt, I want to slug them in the teeth for minimizing my pain. Lynn, having given birth to a stillborn child 8 days before Christmas in 6998, I d like to encourage you that someday, looking back we will see the many ways God redeemed our heartaches even when we didn t know it. There is tremendous sorrow for our losses, to be sure, and a hole that never will be filled by anyone else. But that is a testament to our love for our children, is it not? I m convinced that Julia can see me from heaven and every time God redeems the shortness of her little life by my compassion for others, and by bringing them to the Great Healer Jesus, she s up there shouting, YAY Mom! In heaven, I will see the fruit of her life displayed in mine and I m convinced I will be awestruck by how one so little who lived so short a time could have been such a powerful evangelist to the love of God who sent His Only Son. In love and prayers, Barbara (SeminaryGal)I so agree! My daughter passed away suddenly as a result of an accident. She was only 65 as well and had just accepted Jesus into her heart 8 days earlier. It has been so hard for me to make sense of this. It hurts so much when one quotes this to me! I am so sorry for your loss, Lynn. Yes, I believe that there is a depth of grief that only Heaven will cure when we are reunited. God promises to sustain us with His love and through His children loving you, too. I pray for God s depth charges of love to touch where you in your sorrow. I do not know you, but your story touched my heart. God bless and comfort you, and help soften the shock and grief. My six year old daughter also recently died from cancer. Although I am tired of the platitudes, I accept that people say them because they don t know what else to say. I took some comfort in two books When Bad Things Happen to Good People and Man s Search for Meaning, both of which described people s authentic spiritual searching in terrible situations.
I could probably go on and on, but I m at work, so keeping it brief 😉Lynn my prayers are with you and from one cancer mom to another a big squeeze. At times life simply hurts and cancer sucks. I am deeply spiritual and God showed up so many times during our sons journey, but it still is a horribly rough road. .