Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

06/10/2020

Randall Caselman

 

Accepting The New Normal

 

  Life tumbles in. Tough times come. Stress is inevitable. We live in a fallen world. Holmes and Rahe gave us the stress scale, those things that bring about major changes in our lives: the loss of a spouse; death of a child; divorce; terminal illness; COVID-19; loss of a job, house, business;bankruptcy, etc. What do we do? To whom do we go? How do we deal with our losses?

 

  Face reality head on. We must never deny reality, but rather face it, conquer it. The night of His betrayal, Jesus faced the reality of His death. He named it and asked the Father to set aside the suffering. Paul faced the reality of his thorn in the flesh, by naming it, asking God to remove it. Today, we waste a lot of time, energy, and effort by walking in denial. Stop it!! The sooner we face our loss in the light of truth, the sooner God can begin our healing. Name it! Name it to self, to God, to friends and family. We must speak openly and frankly about our hurt, only then will it begin to fade.

 

  Give it to God! Often, at the first sign of trouble, we take it to God in prayer saying, “Lord, help me here.” When He doesn't solve the problem instantly, we pick it up and try dealing with it ourselves. When we do this: fear, doubt, worry, and anxiety come flooding back, because in really serious matters we know, in our hearts, that we can't fix it. Only God can. Sometimes He chooses not to fix it, but to fix us, to walk with us through the ordeal. Take the problem to God, deposit it there, leave it there! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not rely on your own insight and efforts.”

 

  Don’t live in the past. In any loss, the first thought is: How can I get this back to normal?  No! No! Let go of what was. We resist change.When we are nudged out of our comfort zone by some catastrophe, we struggle to return to the way it was. But listen, just the way it was can never be again. We can’t go home because home has changed! We must learn to walk without the things that are missing or changed. We must know that with our loss of the past, come new opportunities, new people, new joys. “Forgetting the past and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards".

 

  Be open to new possibilities. Open the door to fresh starts, new beginnings: Noah lost his world, but that loss opened the door to a new and better world. Being sold into slavery brought on new options for Joseph and expanded his possibilities, fulfilled his dreams, saved his family. David lost his first son with Bathsheba, but their son Solomon became Israel's greatest ruler. Jesus died on Friday, but arose on Sunday. In our losses, let us accept the challenges: Find a new job. Build a new house. Make new friends. Live abundantly in spite of the diagnosis. Enjoy the twilight years. The truth is, even though we can never have it the way it was, with God's help life can be better than it has ever been! “Therefore, do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly, we are being renewed day by day.”

 

  Yes, any loss brings change. Change can be devastating, or can result in blessings. How we deal with our losses can strengthen our faith; bring the One who walks with us closer than ever; result in new friends and exciting experiences; even allow others to see Jesus in us, walking with us in our fiery furnaces. God, help us see You and Your will, in our losses. Amen!

 

—Randall Caselman