Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

09/26/2018

Randall Caselman

 

When Life Tumbles In

 

  I recognized the voice on the other end of the line. It was weak, broken and desperate. I knew something was wrong. Storm clouds had gathered. Disaster had struck. Disaster is defined as destruction, distress or misfortune. A disaster can be anything that negatively impacts our life: death, divorce, disease; loss of health, property, job, peace, hope. If the situation or circumstance calls for us to alter our life-style, then it is a disaster. Nothing can prepare us for such life crises, but there are some principles and attitudes that will help us cope with the storms of life, disaster, when it strikes.

 

  Know that trouble will come. Jesus spent a good portion of His ministry preparing his disciples, and us, for future difficulties. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” Life's path will not always be smooth. We all know this; we've been to the emergency room and the cemetery too often to ignore it. But it's one thing to know and another to emotionally accept the facts. Peace is never possible until we acknowledge the fact that trouble will come.

 

  Know that God is present. The life of David was filled with one disaster after another. In Psalms 23 & 46, we catch a glimpse of how David dealt with his storms. The Lord is my shepherd. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me... God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake. The promise of Jesus was,” I will be with you always.”... “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Sometimes there is no help other than that which God can provide. Know this; He is as close as we will allow Him to be! 

 

  Know that you can lean on others. God created us for relationships. He has placed us in family units and in churches so that we can draw on strength and comfort from one another. We are to bear one another's burdens. Barbara Streisand said it so well in song, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” Paul admonished: "Carry each other's burdens... As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." James tells us that “if any one of you is in trouble, pray, if any sick, pray, if any are caught up in sin, confess your faults and pray. The prayer of a righteous man is both powerful and effective.” We need to understand that the Bible teaches us to make our pain and needs known to those in the spiritual family. When we see storms clouds begin to gather, we need two things, the presence of God and the help and encouragement of others. Here it is church, let us never, never be found discouraging a brother.

 

  Know there may not be an answer to why. Asking why when there is no answer opens the door for two emotions that should be avoided: self-pity and blaming others, including God. Wondering why is completely natural, but dwelling on the why may lead us to believe God is punishing us. It's true God may use our disaster as a means of loving correction to help us grow in character. However, it may be a wrong conclusion to decide that it is for punishment. Instead of dwelling on the why: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not upon your own understanding.” When Jesus healed the blind man in John nine, the question was asked, “who sinned this man or his parents?” Remember Jesus' answer? “This did not happen due to sin, but so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” Indeed, it’s best to avoid dwelling on why in the midst of a crisis. We may never know the why. And it certainly serves no useful purpose to pursue such questioning. 

 

  Know that there is always hope. In Romans eight, Paul tells us that God has the ability to bring a blessing out of our disaster: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.” Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

  God never promised to deliver us from disaster. What He does promise is that He will walk with us. “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” What peace there is in a faith that believes God treats us as a loving Father. Such a faith will help us overcome the world and its disasters.

 

—RANDALL CASELMAN