We never know what lies in the road ahead, and we never know when our world will fall apart. Disruptive moments, pain, and suffering are occasions for comforting one another. Perhaps I can pass along some nuggets of wisdom that came at the price of suffering in my own life.
Few of us ever fully grasp that simple but painful biblical truth, the heat of suffering is a refiner’s fire, purifying the gold of godly character and wisdom.
God uses disruptive moments to help us keep things in perspective.
The weaker we are, the stronger His grace is revealed.
When life wounds us and we’re in deep pain, we instinctively cry out to God. And it is then that we hear Him and feel His presence so clearly. In the midst of tragic circumstances and disruptive moments, we can have the richest fellowship with Christ afforded to us. That’s when our faith becomes fully real, and we experience the assurance of things we’ve hoped for. We have confirmation in our hearts for what we’ve always believed with our minds.
He is your Father. You’ll find it out at the bend of the road.
The purpose of disruptive moments is to demonstrate that we are truly the children of God. There is no training and learning without pain in the process.
Never does God walk closer to His children than those times when we’re experiencing deep pain and misery (disruptive moments).
The Scriptures show us so clearly that nothing in life is wasted if we love and serve God. Everything that happens to us is for the eternal purposes of God. He is training us through the process. He wants to teach us what we cannot learn in any other way.
The only road that leads to the destination God desires for us has its sharp bends. All attempted shortcuts lead into wilderness.
Whatever struggle or setback you face is intended to empower and purify you. Your situation is important to Him, because He is using it to make you a more valuable servant in His kingdom.
The Father is the One who disciplines His sons—Hebrews 12 makes that very clear. Every trail we face, difficult as it may be, comes from the hand of God, who loves us and wants us to grow. If we’re wise enough, we will see that disruptive moments are really divine appointments. That perspective will make all the difference for you. It will keep you from lashing out at God in despair. It will keep you from giving in to discouragement.
Character and substance are shaped in the crucible of adversity. Unless there is pain in the formula, we will never stop to listen carefully to what He is saying.
Life brings all of us disruptions. It’s up to us to choose our response. It can male us bitter, or it can make us better. If we choose to let disruptive moments make us better, we will toughen up.
The promise of God is the promise of grace.
God allows no pain without purpose. Instead, He uses pain to dispense power. His power can rest upon you only when you’ve abandoned the idea that you’re big enough to go it alone.
What we receive from disruptive moments depends upon how we respond.
It doesn’t matter how deep the pit we’ve stumbled into—we can always grasp at that ray of heavenly hope.
We Christians have no immunity whatsoever to pain or suffering. It matters not whether you’re a new convert or a wise spiritual giant, you’re still an imperfect human creature living in a fallen world, you struggle with all the blessings and burdens being a member of the family of man entails. When we become part of God’s own family, what sets us apart is not any difference in the sin environment around us, but in how we deal with it. You’ve gained no special right to bypass the human condition of suffering.
Sometimes the deepest cut is inflicted from the closest range. No wound is quite so painful as the one inflicted by someone we love and trust.
Wise parents love their children enough to allow them to experience pain, for that shocking pain can teach things the wisest words of parents can’t.
Sometimes things can’t be learned through lectures, they must come at the cost of burned fingers or skinned knees.
God doesn’t coldly stand aside during the trials we experience.
God sends trouble (disruptive moments) into our lives to strengthen us and to make us better children in His family.
Anything can happen to us, many roads can be chosen by us. Our choices will determine what kind of person we turn out to be.
An emergency to you or me is an opportunity in the great mosaic of God’s purposes, a useful occasion for building our trust, stretching our faith, teaching us to hope, and nurturing our patience.
How will you choose to deal with your personal crisis (disruptive moments)—as an emergency or an opportunity? A stumbling block or a stepping stone? The moment you and I can begin to see things through the heavenly lens, the picture becomes bearable—and we find new strength.
We tend to lack a theology of adversity. Life isn’t always positive. Sometimes things go wrong. If you don’t have a realistic view of adversity, the outcome won’t be very positive when it’s your turn to face it.
Whenever we face trials (disruptive moments), we need to remember who God is. Sometimes we get so focused on our trials we forget to focus on Him.
Things may be bad, and they can always be worse, but God never changes. He is never any less in control. He never has a smaller portion of love for us, and His plan for us does not deviate in the tiniest detail. All else but God changes.
When you’re under attack by the armies of suffering, don’t think you have no weapons to raise. Lift a song in worship and praise. They’re powerful weapons in the hands of God’s children.
Never assume God is through with you.
Trials (disruptive moments) are for our benefit, as unwelcome as they are at the time. they make us better men and women, which makes us more influential men and women who can make a difference for God’s purpose. When you have walked through the fire, people begin to listen to you. When you have the wisdom borne of suffering, you begin to have the tools to accomplish something in the world.
Suffering and strength are two sides of the same coin.
God is up to something when He sends difficulty our way.
Life is not going to be easy. But I do believe that it can be victorious. When you know Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ, you can endure whatever is placed before you with strength that the world can’t comprehend. If you don’t know Christ, you must enter the battle without weapon or armor. You fight in your own strength, and you fall on your face.
Psalm 121 encourages us to trust God even when life gives us what we haven’t asked for.
In spite of all the perils we encounter, we can trust God. He is never too great to care, we are never too small for His caring. The psalm reflects on a God who soothes us in our anxiety and watches over us as a shepherd with his sheep.
The Bible never lies to us by claiming that life is easy. Christianity is no free pass, there are no shortcuts to bypass the essential human experience. But somehow people get that mistaken idea, and when they eventually face trouble, as they always do, they come to the irrational conclusion that the presence of trouble (disruptive moments) implies the absence of God.
God’s word reminds us that we are pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land whose roads are filled with hazards.
When we cast our hopes on God, we’re not only coming to a God who cares, but a God who can.
God is not merely the Creator of all things, but He is the Sustainer of all things as well.
In your moment of deep anxiety, remember this: The One to whom you are praying is the One who made heaven and earth. He is the Creator God.
When you say, “God, I need Your help,” you need to know that He knows you. He perceives you.
God is always there, no matter when it is that you need Him.
Bad things do happen, but they happen within God’s supervision and long-term purposes. It’s foolish to believe things have gotten out of His control; it simply cannot happen.
God’s care extends not only to every place and to every setting, but it also spans all of time and eternity.
God cares for us in time and eternity. Time is only His tool to bring us wisdom and perspective.
No matter what the future holds, no matter what may lie around the next corner, our help comes from the Lord who loves us. Nothing can keep us from His love. No matter what it is you’re facing, whichever way your road bends, whatever obstacle looms before you in your road, that obstacle can’t do it either.
God knows what you’re going through and He has been looking forward to talking it over with you. He’d be much happier with an exasperate “How long, Lord!” than with your forced smile.
The longer we go without God’s peace and perspective in the midst of bad times, the more our faith begins to weaken.
Faith can begin to unravel when you believe that God has given up on you. God never gives up on you. He never ceases to care about you, and He will not abandon His work on you, of which your trial is a part.
God says He will never leave us or forsake us. But that doesn’t mean we’ll never feel forsaken. Emotions will bring us to that point, and we can feel free to express out honest, naked feelings to God when that comes to pass.
In calm times, we say a prayer. In desperate times, we truly pray.
If you’re going through a time of trouble right now (disruptive moments), as so many of us are, don’t rail against God for what He has done to bring you to this place. Instead, ask Him how you can learn to be His trusting child and how you can hang on to the desperation that brings sincere, heartfelt praise.
We can find tremendous hope of victory in the midst of the deepest pits life can drop us into. But it’s no simple process. There isn’t a handy, guaranteed formula for hope in the midst of suffering (disruptive moments), it takes absolute, fall-on-your-face humility and genuine, gut-wrenching honest prayer.
Our troubles can cause us to avoid the places where we’re most likely to see God.
Our faith isn’t a luxury intended for periods of smooth sailing, neither is our fellowship.
The devil is the only one whose opinion it is that you should take a sabbatical from church in the hard times.
God saves us in the big picture, but the Bible assures us that He saves us in the small ones too, when we ask Him.
If you want to stay healthy as a Christian, you need to go back and remember what God has done for you in the past.
You can choose to lift up your eyes to the heavens, pour out your tears and grief and anger, and say in the very midst of them, “God, I have no clue what this turmoil is all about or where it is leading, but this is my resolution: I will put my trust in You, and I will praise You with all my heart, unconditionally.
The same God who has been there for you in the past is the God who is going to be there for you in the future. He will bring resolution in His own time, according to His own purpose. We become preoccupied with our circumstances; God is preoccupied with our character. He will allow the tough times for the higher good of our character until He is finished with the great work that is invisible to our earthly eyes.
You can be encouraged – God never waits too long. He is never late, nor does He lose control. He makes no misjudgments or mistakes.
One of the things we discover in the psalms is that we not only have a Lord God and a Savior when we face tragedy, even incomparable pain like the loss of a young, beloved child, but we have a wonderful Friend in the bargain. They burst out in song that the high and holy God of creation is our friend. They remind us that He knows every need we feel, every craving we experience. They assure us He is an always-present Father, who is totally immersed in the smallest details of our lives.
David came to see that in times of trouble (disruptive moments), the most clearly marked path to God is not the way of struggle and desperation. It is, instead, the path of worship.
When difficulties burden us, we must struggle to remember our reasons for gratitude to God. This won’t happen if we imprison ourselves within self-pity and preoccupation with loss. It requires the fortitude to open our eyes and see that, whatever seems to have been taken from us, we have received so much more that should move us toward gratitude.
Gratitude is a doorway that admits us into the courts of godliness. Focusing inward on our misery traps us in our own private dungeon, and we lock ourselves away from those richer interiors that provide the healing and wisdom we need.
God doesn’t delay in answering us when we come to Him. We may think He delays because we have our own timetable in mind, but God hears us the instant we cry out.
God will always be there when we’re in trouble. Whatever He chooses to do about our circumstances, and whenever He chooses to do it, He will strengthen us for the battle.
When we begin to praise God, not in response to prosperity, but in defiance of misfortune, we align ourselves with the deepest truths of the universe, the place where God dispenses deep wisdom and spiritual maturity. We unleash His victorious power in the world of pain and suffering. We create the environment where miracles occur. And the first miracle occurs inside the mind of the afflicted.
Our Father has issued us a full armory of weapons for use in the world (our lips, tongues, hands wills, mouths, memories, intellects). We fill them with the wrong ammunition. Load these weapons with worship and praise to God.
In the midst of the lonely desert road, what are you to do? Praise God with every part of your body, mind, and spirit. Learn to praise God regardless of your personal circumstance, and you’ll see miracles occur. Your heart and mind will be renewed. Your perspective will widen panoramically. And your attitude toward God will never be the same.
If you’re not treading through the dust of despair (disruptive moments) at this very moment, the time is certain to come. But when that day arrives, you will not face it unarmed. The Bible, sharper than any two-edged sword, stands ready for combat. It contains desert psalms that can become your battle plans. The ammunition of praise is ready for discharge. And close by your side will be a faithful, powerful God filled with loving kindness and plans for you, plans that lead to spiritual victory and personal fulfillment.
God knows that the quietness of the desert is a place for you to get to know Him better, with so much more depth and fulfillment. He doesn’t exult in your pain, but he delights in your tighter embrace.
When God answers a prayer and provides healing, He has revealed something about His purposes, a precious clue about His wonderful workings in this world. He has intervened for a good reason, and we now have the same responsibility to offer praise as the responsibility we had when we prayed for healing.
In Psalm 30, David speaks of the great gulf that exist between the height of the peak and the depth of the valley. And yet we can experience both of those things in a brief span of time. we can be filled with joy one moment and find ourselves in tears the next, because the road can bend that quickly.
When the storm rages we feel this is forever and we’ll never be the same. We can’t remember what the sky looked like when it was blue, and we can’t imagine the sun will ever break through the clouds again. But God has given us a far more powerful capacity for healing than we can possible realize, and His powers of comfort and strengthening and revival are unlimited.
We should never keep silent in light of God’s blessings. If your life is fulled with joy, give thanks to God, if you’re enduring pain and tears, give thanks to God. In all things, offer your praise. Life’s ups and the downs (disruptive moments) are only yard markers on the playing field of circumstance. Joy and sadness are temporary conditions, but praise and thanksgiving are permanent expressions. When we finally come to understand that truth and begin to praise God in the midst of all things, we often find that circumstances themselves change in our favor.
One of the reasons for some of the challenges (disruptive moments) in our lives is that God is toughening us up, preparing us for warfare against forces intent on destroying us.
Problems tend to isolate us.
Problems encourage isolation, and isolation nurtures misconception.
Believers do indeed enter the dark cave of depression at times.
For the people of God, there is never a pit too deep to escape.
We tell God about our problems because he has commanded us to do so.
Prayer should be a time of no-holds-barred, straight-ahead communication with God. We cut to the root of the problem, and we’re not afraid to name names. And when that happens, we feel a tremendous sense of unburdening ourselves before the most intimate Friend imaginable. He is listening, He cares, He responds, and we can tell Him anything at all.
God has said we are to cast all our cares upon Him—period. If we hold back any burden, we short-circuit the healing process that He is so eager to bring about within us. We also shield ourselves from truths that we need to face honestly—truths that will suddenly become bright and clear the moment we bring them into the light if God’s presence.
We can pray our way right through the pressure. We can pray our way right through the sickness. We can pray our way right through the crisis and the losses and the fears. If we will only come before Him honestly, He’ll meet the needs in our lives—every one of them.
No one ever said it would be easy out in the deep waters. No one ever guaranteed fair weather and smooth sailing. It’s your choice—stay along the shore and you’ll always be safe from drowning and disaster. But you’ll also never know the blessings of the deep things of God.
We’re much more comfortable crediting God with calming storms than with causing them. And yet we must take the Scripture at its word. The Bible teaches us that He is Lord of all—and that includes the storms (disruptive moments) that serve His purposes along with everything else.
Let’s take care before blaming God for every storm, however. Sometimes we’ve done just fine on our own bringing on those dark clouds. We make the mistakes, and God’s place is simply to let us discover how deeply we need Him when we’re just about to go under the waves.
Wherever you are, whatever the crisis may be, there is an important principle at work. If you feel helpless, you’ve become eligible for the assistance of God.
The Book of Psalms is the hymnal of the Old Testament. Every conceivable emotion from ecstasy to anger to despair can be found in these pages.
If there is a single great message here, it is that our pain is real, but God’s presence is just as real. The psalms bear witness to the fact that we aren’t the first to walk down the difficult roads of disappointment and persecution and bitterness.
Psalm 46 towers over us as a biblical monument to the awesome and limitless power of God. It has the function of helping us remember that no barrier is too great for God to overcome. Victory is always within reach for anyone who is willing to spread out their concerns before God. It is not the might of the enemy but the strength of God’s power that wins the day.
Out thought patterns are crucial in the midst of our difficulties. In the spiritual realm, we must go into battle with our thoughts fixed on Him.
The same God who sustained you in the past, who brought you victoriously through every previous crisis, is the God who stands with you here and now, in the midst of this fresh testing of your spirit.
Journaling memorializes the blessings of God. Your journal provides spiritual fuel, made up of the ingredients of your past, to add power and hope to your life.
God cries out for us to slow down, silence our voices, and listen. When we seek safety, silence is our friend, it hides us from the enemy, allows us to listen for important information, and affords us the opportunity to regather our strength. It allows us to be still and know that He is God.
Perhaps when our hearts are troubled, we should spend less time looking for angels and more time speaking to the awesome God within our hearts, telling Him, “O Lord, God of creation, I know You are present with me. Give me the strength and power to face this moment.”
God must be enough, in fact, for if He isn’t, where do we find ourselves? If the God of heaven and earth, who is mightier than all the world’s armies, who can cause the earth to melt into the sea, who is “with us”—if that God is not Lord of your crisis, you’re in deep trouble and so are the rest of us.
Psalm 16 reaches across history to us today, reminding us in our crisis to reflect on the goodness of God. We may feel our world is coming to an end. We may feel so tightly entangled in the problems of this world that there’s no escape. But when we pause to reflect on the power and majesty and love of God, everything begins to change. There’s an awesome power unleashed by a simple action when you “count your many blessings, name them one by one.”
Celebrating the blessings of God is wonderful therapy for the spirit. The Word of God never ceases reminding us to review the mighty works of the Lord.
Do you go it alone when times are tough? God never intends you to do so.
One of the best things about going through a little storm, or even a big one, is that all of a sudden the true nature of God’s people becomes clear to you. You find out that God has given to you some fantastic, godly friends.
God does so many things for us. He blesses us coming and going, right and left, when we awaken and when we sleep. But if He never gave us any other blessing, He would be worthy of our constant praise just for His constant presence among us. To know God and to be known by Him—this is an indescribable blessing. It means that we need never be truly lonely. It means we are never isolated. It means that we are significant, circled points on His map.
Rejoicing in what God is doing—whether we like it and understand it or not—is a way of worshiping Him. It is an act of obedience and a sacrifice of praise.
Can you look beyond the bend in the road and trust that, even though you can’t see where the road winds, the best is yet to come? Can you look beyond the terrible frustrations of poor health, and believe that God is preparing a sumptuous feast for you? Can you stand in the midst of family trauma, or a crisis in business, or whatever your trial might be, and praise the name of your Father, because you know He is your rock and your salvation?
David could do that, and countless souls throughout the ages have joined him in joy that flies in the face or rational explanation—pursued as they have been by the giants of life, the jealous kings of daily experience, the limitations of relationships, and the disappointment of hopes and dreams. They have found that these very times of discouragement (disruptive moments) have not been defined by the absence of God, but somehow, by the miraculous, closer presence of Him. They have stared at the emptiness of death and realized that it held the fullness of a feast.