Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bitter or Better? - Lori Freeland

Why is it that when bad things happen to some people they emerge better and stronger at the other end of the crisis while other people shrivel up and build steel walls to keep others out?

Eight years ago, my son was diagnosed with leukemia right before his eleventh birthday. Because his age put him at a higher risk, his treatment plan was harsh and everything that could go wrong did go wrong. We spent a lot of time in the hospital the first year of his almost four-year struggle. 

When you’re in and out of a small isolated hall on the fourth floor of the children’s wing, bonding with other parents becomes natural. Seeing the same faces over and over makes for fast friendships. Especially when you’re taking cover in the same sterile foxhole. 

Years later, a few of those moms I befriended have grown stronger, others have broken, and some are barely hanging on years after cancer rocked their world. It almost doesn’t seem to matter if the child made it to remission or not. 

When something bad happens, you have two choices. Be bitter or be better.

So what made the difference in these moms? Personality? Personal beliefs? Support system?

From my experience, I would have to say none of those things.

I believe hope made the difference. But not any hope. Hope in something real. Hope in something outside of ourselves. Hope in a life-changing God. 

The Perfect Storm - Greg Brezina

Recently, I saw the movie The Perfect Storm. This true story occurred in 1991, when a category 5 hurricane combined with a cold front from Canada on the Massachusetts’ coast to form a 100-year storm, thus The Perfect Storm. The movie was centered around the captain and crew of a 90-foot fishing boat.

The owner of the boat had publicly embarrassed the captain and crew because their previous catches of fish were inadequate. They responded to the rejection like many who perform for acceptance by blaming and shaming, dumping anger, drinking, using profanity, and searching for love in all the wrong places. Their frustrations were calmed with the hope of performing better next time.

The next time came, and they caught a large catch of fish. But when the ice machine on board broke, they were forced to stop fishing and head for home. It was then that they were alerted to the intensity of the storm between them and their port.

The captain gave his crew two options. They could safely wait out the storm, let the fish spoil, and be humiliated again; or they could try to sail through the storm and be honored for their great catch. In the movie, money and success were more valuable to them than their lives, so they entered the storm.

The storm pounded them with huge waves, which they fought with all their strength. However, their strength was inadequate. With a battered boat, they tried to exit the storm, but it was too late. They were caught, and their boat capsized. Fatigued and frustrated, they surrendered to the sea.

It wasn’t a pleasant movie, but it clearly reminded me of the times life’s storms have capsized me. For years, I fought life’s storms with all my strength and much of the time succeeded, but sometimes I failed. When I succeeded, I thought that I was adequate for the task of living and that God was pleased with my performance. However, it was my failures in the storms that depressed me.

I detested failure. When I failed, waves of negative thoughts flooded my mind. Thoughts that God was disgusted with me and that I was inadequate depressed my soul. During those depressing times, I lay on my bed and cried out to God, “Where are You? Why don’t You help me? What is wrong with me? I am confused.”

Hang In There…Help Is on the Way! - Joyce Meyer

The Bible repeatedly tells us that God is our helper. So can we really trust God to help us? Yes, we really can!

It’s easy to agree with that right away, and there are a lot of things we mentally ascent to―but when it comes to practically applying them in our everyday life, we can’t seem to find a way to do it.

The truth is if we really believe God is our helper and that He’s willing to help us no matter what situation we’re in, then we have no reason to worry or get overwhelmed. 

I’ll let you in on secret: You need to ask God for help because the Holy Spirit is not the type to barge into your life and take over.

Have you ever had someone try to push their opinions or their agenda on you? That’s not what the Holy Spirit does.

The Holy Spirit knows the answer to every problem, and He will help you through each one. But He won’t give you His advice unless you ask for it. In other words, the humble get the help.
Every Problem Matters to God
“ God is not holding out on you. ”

Jesus said in John 15:5 (NIV), “Apart from me you can do nothing.” And that’s so true. God is not holding out on you; He actually likes it when we ask for His help.

God not only wants to help us with our big problems, but He also wants to help us with the little things in life. And that’s wonderful news because sometimes we allow the little things to get us frustrated and upset.

In the Psalms, we frequently see King David going to God for help. (See Psalm 40:13.)

Notice that David was not only bold enough to ask God for help, but he was also confident that God would answer his prayers. We should learn from that!

In Psalm 43:5 (AMP), David says, “Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my [sad] countenance, and my God.”

You and I have so many opportunities to feel sad or discouraged and have a bad attitude, but God wants us to stay strong in Him like David did. Those who do will eventually come out on top, because there’s no way the enemy can hold you back if you will trust God and keep your hope in Him.
Learn How to Trust Your Helper

Not only will God deliver you, but He will also sustain you while you’re waiting for your breakthrough. He keeps us strong while we’re waiting and keeps us from going under (see Isaiah 41:10).

Even when we’re tempted to think, It’s not going to do me any good to pray after the way I’ve acted, we can’t let that stop us from asking for God’s help. Why is that? Because when we go to the Father in prayer, we don’t go in our name…we go in the name of Jesus.

When you’re hurting, in trouble, or waiting for answers in your life, you need to believe that your help has been sent out from heaven and it is on the way. God may not come early, but He won’t be late.

No matter what your circumstances look like or what the world may say, hang in there. Because help is on the way!a

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