There are some things in life that cannot be changed. There are times when no matter how much we try, pray, research, plead, argue, deny, try something new, come up with new solutions or talk about it…sometimes it seems there is nothing more that we can do. I am not very good at swallowing bitter pills.
In the past few months my brain has been bombarded with things that seem to be unchangeable and sometimes it threatens to overwhelm. Whether it be death, broken relationships, illness, lost dreams, racial tensions, killing, fighting, tornados, floods, political sparring, moral arguments, or terrorist attacks…my mind cannot accept these bitter pills. Life doesn’t always work out the way that we hoped it would.
Over and over I keep reminding myself that God never promised this life would be easy. But sometimes it seems a little too hard.
I will not allow pain without allowing something new to be born. – Isaiah 66:9
That verse is definitely not on my list of top ten Bible verses. God is not the creator of pain and suffering. Yet, at the same time this verse acknowledges that at times He allows it…in order for something new to be born. Yep – it’s a little hard to swallow. So, good things come out of pain? Yes, they do. The Lord fills the hurt with all kinds of good things. New life, new friends, new eyes to see His truths, new ways of living, new opportunities, and new beginnings. The pain may never be erased but new things help us to continue on our journey.
More and more I am realizing that this present life I am living is designed not only for my enjoyment – but to prepare me for eternity. John 10:10 tells us that Jesus desires that we have full and satisfying lives. OK – I like that part. But what about the suffering part? Why do people suffer?
Problems prepare us for eternity. It is in our problems that His reality is clearly seen. When we are knocked to our knees He meets us there. The Lord prepares us now for the ages to come and problems are one of the tools He uses. I know this but I don’t like it….not one little bit.
The challenge lies in trying to figure out how to have a full and satisfying life when we have been forced to swallow a bitter pill. How do we do that? How do we live a happy life when we – or others – are chewing on bad tasting pills? It feels like selfish-irresponsible – putting-your-head-in-the-sand kind of living.
When life hands us trials we come face to face with this question: Do I trust Jesus with every detail of my life? Do I trust Him enough to pray over the situation – seek His direction – follow His lead – and then leave the bitter pill with Him?
This past week I learned that I have a sort of condition. It’s a bitter pill that I can do absolutely nothing to change. My ears ring…uh-huh. It’s awful. So I googled around about this ringing ear thing and I learned some little exercises I can do to minimize the noise.
After a sleepless night from the swooshing in my ears I decided to try the exercise of “training my brain” in hopes of getting a little shut eye in the afternoon. I turned on my little jambox and played some soft Christian music. I started with my right side and while I laid there I forced my brain to concentrate on the music and the words so that the noise would fade into the background. And…it worked! I dozed right off. Then I tried the same exercise on my left side – training my brain to focus on the music and filling up my soul with good things – and I was out like a light. When I woke up I felt refreshed. And I thought to myself, “I can actually train my brain!”
And then it dawned on me. I can control the noise in my ears and I am pretty sure I could use that same exercise to push the noise of my life into the background. The next night my husband was pretty pumped at the thought of listening to music all night long. When the morning came around he was cross eyed from listening to his favorite tunes all night long, but I slept like a baby.
I have started taking control of my thoughts. I am filling my thoughts with scripture and prayer and centering my mind on the Lord so that the heartaches, disappointments, frustrations, and fears will fade into the background I have been practicing the exercise of training my brain on the whatevers…
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
We can think about these things and trust God with the rest.
But there are some times when a pill is too much to swallow and we cannot even seem to find a “whatever”. In this situation we need to develop some more trust muscles. We need to push the noise into the background with white knuckled determination and make the decision to pray – and then leave it with the Lord. He will give us strength and power to face our challenges. If we do not fully trust the Lord we will become captive to our fears and frustrations.
I was thinking about the word fear. The word fear almost sends a shiver up my spin. Add three more letters – fear-ful and it’s almost debilitating. Fearful most simply means – full of fear. Let’s spit out that bitter pill and change it up a bit.
Let’s take the word fear – and add four little letters less. Oh, yessss…now we are talking. Fearless. I love that word. I desire to be fearless. Take note here…there is no such word as fearnone. You won’t find that one in the dictionary. Living fearless means that we will have fear – but by the strength and power of the Lord we can be brave and courageous and fear less. And when we fear less – we begin to experience the abundant life.
Will you be fearful or fearless? Spit out that bitter pill and go with God today.
God did not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7Until next time,