Even If: How do we trust God when things go sideways?

Festoon-lightingI recently heard a song that could have been written about a season in my life. The lyrics perfectly describe a situation that I went through over a decade ago…but whose reality still grips my heart. It’s a song by the band, MercyMe and it’s called ‘Even If’.

Verse 1:

They say, ‘Sometimes you win some / Sometimes you lose some.’

And right now, right now I’m losing bad.

I’ve stood on this stage night after night, reminding the broken it’ll be alright,

But right now, right now I just can’t.

It’s easy to sing when there’s nothing to bring me down.

But what will I sing when I’m held to the flame like I am right now?

 

My husband and I were just a couple years into blending our family. Things had been challenging in every arena but our love and gratitude for this fresh new start was high.

And then the bottom fell out. We were taken to court by someone who wanted to see us fail. This person slandered us, sent us threatening letters, and attacked our character, our finances and the peace in our home. I can’t go into more detail than that, but suffice it to say that the months leading up to the day in court were fraught with anxiety and fear.

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How to survive the snake bite: Overcoming disappointment

 

how-to-survive-the-snake-bite-2

Lorraine Johnson was taking her usual hike after work in the Santa Monica Mountains when all of a sudden she felt a stabbing pain in her ankle. It took a few seconds to register, but once she realized what had actually happened, it was too late.  She had been bitten by a rattlesnake.  Unfortunately, the path on which she habitually walked was a rattlesnake breeding ground and on this warm night, they snakes were basking in the sun.

Lorraine recounts, “‘Within seconds, I started feeling the effects: blurred vision, jelly-like legs, and a horrifying sense of panic.”

Lorraine says her bite was more severe than most. ‘The snake that bit me injected a standard-issue hemotoxin along with a rare and more powerful neurotoxin that quickly interfered with my brain’s signals to my respiratory system,’ she says. “’I didn’t know it at the time, but I had to get help fast if I was going to survive.’

Fortunately, other hikers were nearby who were able to rush her to a local hospital where she received the first of 116 vials of antivenin.  Lorraine credits the close proximity of the other hikers and of the hospital for her survival.

I also credit a loving God who was watching out for her that day.

In our lives, we also run the risk of a lethal snake bite.  But this bite is not going to be remedied with vials of antivenin.  This bite is in the heart and the snake has been around for eons.

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Lord, what do you have to say about this?

Sotmr clouds over the road

What do you when your world is falling apart and there’s no rewind button?

I’ll tell you what I do…I run to the Lord.  I wish I could say that it’s a neat, tidy, faith-filled, hallelujah chorus type of run.  It’s not.  I’m usually crying a messy cry – you know, the ugly cry – feeling sorry for myself, sad beyond words, overwhelmed, and wondering why ONE MORE piece of my life is under attack or getting flushed down the toilet.  I wish I could say that I come up with Bible verses right away to encourage myself in the Lord.  But I don’t always.  Sometimes it takes a while to find my way out of the paper bag.

But I have developed a good habit over the past few years, thanks to a dear friend of mine who practices this all the time.  I write down all of my fears, concerns, worries, stresses, and disappointments in my journal.  Then I ask Jesus what he thinks about it all.  And then…I wait.

My pen is poised and I wait upon the Lord to answer me. I pray and ask Him to make my heart open to hear his voice and then I start writing.  I don’t critique my writing. I just write until I am done.

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