When Everything Is Against You, What Do You Do?
There are many encouraging passages of Scripture. You know, the ones that we make into special cards and jewelry that we give as gifts or home décor we have around the house. But let’s be honest. There are many passages that talk about hardships, betrayals, pain, and sin. Those passages no one celebrates and even discusses.
Those passages, however, are crucial in understanding the Christian life. They are real life, not the candy coated, Pollyanna world that all of us long for, but often do not experience.
We don’t want to remain in that state of pain and loss, but long to effectively deal with those difficult seasons. So how do we do it? How do we acknowledge the challenges we face and yet want to overcome?
The first thing we do is admit our pain, sickness, or trial to the Lord and if need be to others. There are certain theologies that live in denial. These theologies say, “don’t declare you are sick, or in pain. That is not faith talk.” Well I have some news, good news actually. James 5:14 states, “Are any among you sick?” Later the writer says in 5:16, “Confess your sins to each other…” Honesty frees us to feel what we feel and say what really bothers us. But we don’t want to remain there, otherwise we get stuck.
Once admitting our issues, then we go to the next step of prayerfully seeking God. This seems obvious, but many believers just bemoan their circumstances and don’t truly seek the Lord. So many Scriptures I can list at this point, but Matthew 7:7 is as good as any. “Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.”
But what if I am still suffering while doing both of those suggestions? Fortunately, I have some additional solutions that can help. Earlier I mentioned in James about your honest admission of the situation. But here are the conclusions. In the James 5:14 passage about admitting illness, the solution is to call for the elders of the church to pray over the sick person by anointing with oil. Then in James 5:16 after confessing sins to each other, you pray for each other to be healed. In both instances you seek out trusted others who take time with you in prayer and caring. Going through stuff alone is the worse place to be. We were created as social creatures and having loving, caring, people around us who are not judgmental is crucial to getting out of the pit.
So what if you have no one to rely on and everyone is against you?
There is a story about David in 1 Samuel 30:1-6, that gives me a plan for dealing with a worse possible scenario. At this time, David has been an outcast in Israel because Saul the king wants to kill him. David and all the men with him have been away from their home for a while. Upon returning they found the Amalekites raided their homes, took all the men’s families captive and burned their town to the ground. We pick up the story in verse 6, “David was now in serious trouble because his men were very bitter about losing their wives and children, and they began to talk of stoning him.”
Now I want us to think about this. You are an innocent, hunted man. You keep moving around to avoid capture by the insane king. You and your men have been away fighting for another country, and upon your return, utter devastation. On top of that every one of your companions is blaming you and wants to kill you. You are now completely alone with grief, fear, and uncertainty. What do you do?
Verse 7 tells us that David “found strength in the Lord his God.” This is the step I mentioned earlier, which is prayer. But the kind of prayer where you cry out to God; where you keep communing with him until something breaks and a peace comes over you. If need be, repeat over and over, “I trust you Lord, I trust you Lord.”
This is what Jesus had to do in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed fervently until he felt that wonderful peace.
We have a friend who is legally blind from a doctor’s mistake, and lost her case of a malpractice suit. In addition her disability caused her job loss, and on top of that, her husband died. After all this she embraces life by volunteering to help others and finds strength in the Lord.
I have also experienced sickness, loss, and grief. I have been through a divorce as a Christian, I have been wrongly accused by church people, and had a heart operation. Many friends and family have died and I have been financially devastated. But I chose to do the things I am suggesting, and here I am, still going.
You can choose to be bitter or better.You can choose to blame, or forgive.You can fight against God or surrender to Him.The choice is yours.Choose wisely.