Difficult situations often take us on an emotional roller coaster. When times are good, we can usually feel comfortable in our knowledge and understanding of God’s Sovereignty (meaning that God is in complete control). However, when we go through serious trials in life, sometimes we can lose sight of this. It can be quite easy to get completely wrapped up in our
If we give these emotions too much headspace, they can send us down the path of all kinds of wrong-minded thinking. We may find we are almost developing a sense of entitlement (I’m a Christian, therefore God should make sure my life is good), or a condescending type of doubt (If God is supposedly in control, why doesn’t he “fix” this), or maybe worst of all, arrogance (I have my own plans, I know what’s best in my life, and this situation isn’t in alignment with that).
And so, when we are in the midst of storms in our lives, we may find ourselves asking “Where is God?” However, I think we can begin to get in a better mindset if we understand there is a difference in questioning where God is in a situation, as opposed to asking if God will reveal himself. I feel the former question, if we aren’t careful, can come from (or even build up) some of that wrong-thinking I mentioned above. The latter question, however, firmly plants our feet on a solid biblical foundation. By asking if God will reveal himself, baked-in to that question is the presupposition that God is already right there with us—we just don’t see him. It sets up our acknowledgment that what is happening is well within God’s control, and that it’s part of a much larger plan. I’m certainly not claiming its always a breeze, as often that larger plan may not be visible to us. However, sometimes God puts the pieces together in such an obvious way, it slaps us in the face and we can’t help but praise him in our storm (somebody cue Casting Crowns).
This was the case for me recently. As some of you may know, a couple of weeks ago my position was eliminated where I worked, and I found myself unemployed. It came at a particularly challenging time in our lives, as numerous other mini & moderate storms had hit over the past couple of months. While there were obviously some of those roller coaster emotions I talked about earlier, I (for some unbeknownst reason to me) had this deep down underlying peace about it.
While I was driving home, my favorite verse (that I meditate on quite a bit actually) came to mind:
“Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10
If you do a deep dive of this verse, one thing you will find is there’s a lot more to the phrase “be still.” A better translation for it is “stop striving”, or “cease.” This verse tells us to quit what we are doing, stop trying to do things on our own, and take a moment to reflect
In losing my job, the one thing I obviously had no clue about was how (literally) life-saving this event would be. After about a week at home, I figured I’d go ahead and get some things done I had been putting off because of how busy I had been. I started on a few projects around the house, and I scheduled numerous appointments like the dentist, my eye doctor, etc.
For the past few
Since I was getting my eyes and teeth checked out, and since I had the time, I thought I might as well try to schedule my cardiologist and see if he had any ideas on my chest pain. I couldn’t get on his schedule anytime soon, but they did set up an appointment for me to meet with his physician’s assistant. After our initial consult, she thought I should get a stress test as a next step, and it was scheduled two days later (Thursday, Dec 13th, 2018).
That morning I failed the stress test, bad. I couldn’t even get my heart above 130 because of how short of breath I was. Previously I thought shortness of breath was something like the heavy breathing you get after intense exertion. Yeah, well, I now realize it’s not like that at all. This kind of shortness of breath is more like you are drowning. It’s a terrifying feeling and brings with it a very difficult to describe type of intense pain.
Since I couldn’t complete the test on the treadmill, they used something called Lexiscan, which is an injection that increases blood flow in the arteries to simulate the workload on your heart. And while I felt like that was going to kill me when it was injected, it did (along with a couple rounds of imaging) allow them to get the data they needed.
About 10 minutes later, after reviewing the results, their doctor brought me the first of what would end up being several upcoming “tough conversations.” He told me 50 percent of my heart was not getting blood. (Note that’s not 50 percent blockage; it means a critical blockage that is affecting half my heart.) He set up an appointment with a Cardiologist two hours later, and they ordered for me to have a heart catheterization ASAP. We waited in their offices for over four hours, but there were no rooms available in cardiac, so they ended up admitting me into ER. That next morning they got me in for the procedure.
After the heart catheterization, since I was still in la la land from the sedation, Mindy (my wife) got to hear the second of these tough conversations. They diagrammed four serious blockages—70%, 90%, 95%, & 100%. They filled me in on it later, along with the last, and definitely the toughest news–I was scheduled for a triple bypass surgery on the morning of Tuesday, December 18th! (Two were on the same artery, so that’s why
Because of the seriousness of my condition, I’m here until the surgery (which honestly is fine with me). But what immediately hit me in the face when I heard the prognosis was how blessed I was to have been given this “free time.” I feel with a very high degree of certainty, given how consistently I was led to believe my chest pain wasn’t a serious problem, I would not have pursued it any further in the near future. I only got this checked out because I had the time, and I thought, “Why not?”
To bring this back to the original point of this post, when we face trials, it’s so easy to slip into wrong thinking and only be looking at what is happening “in the moment.” It’s so easy to allow emotions of anger, frustration, or self-pity to creep in. It’s so easy to overlook what we know about God’s Sovereignty and to question “where is God???”
Instead, my encouragement to everyone is to pray ahead of the stormy