You may not realize it at the time, but in the first few moments after your life is turned upside down by crisis or circumstances… you are faced with a series of important choices. I found in our struggle, that there were three choices that I had to wrap my mind and heart around as life as I knew it changed in an instant.
Choice #1: To turn from God or trust him.
One of the bible stories that I have clung to throughout our struggle is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3. Specifically in verses 17-18: ”If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
We have to remember that, as believers, we praise and worship God because He CAN… not because he always does. I believe strongly that the struggles and strife that we face in this lifetime are intended to strengthen and grow us. This belief does not mean that we have to like that process but it does mean that even on the darkest of days we have to trust his promises in Jeremiah 29:11 where he tells us, “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The choice to trust God in the hardest moments of this life… the moments when we do not see his plan or understand his ways- paves a path towards finding his purpose through our pain. Making that choice does not mean we can’t be angry, upset, or frustrated with God… but it does means we trust him enough to work through those emotions WITH him instead of letting them turn into bitterness against him.
Choice #2: To hide from the world or face it.
My first reaction when the world crashed around me was to take the pieces of it and build a cocoon that I could hide inside of. However, I quickly realized that I had to make a choice between that reaction to shut out friends, family, and prayer warriors in that moment or resist it and allow them in so that they could bear the weight of our burdens with us.
Making the choice to face the world instead of hiding from it was important for me. God often speaks through his people. God’s love is most often transferred by the touch of his people. It was through many of those conversations, visits, and prayer times that I felt the hand of God holding me the closest.
Choice #3: To focus my mind of feelings or faith.
Our minds can be God’s temple or Satan’s playground… the difference is simply who you allow to control your thoughts. When fears, anxieties, worries, sadness, depression, and anger swell in my mind and threaten to drown me in grief… I have to cling with white knuckles to the word of God. His words of peace, comfort, and purpose are like life rafts that I have to choose to remain in so that I could stay above the sea of emotions in my mind.
I made this choice in the first moments of my struggle and have found that this is a choice I have to make day after day again… sometimes hour by hour or minute by minute.
Some of the verses that I recite to myself in the hardest moments are:
- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.Psalm 46:1
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
- Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.Psalms 55:22
- The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
- Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.Matthew 11:25-30
I am by no means an expert on what to do in times of crisis… but I am a person who is walking a painful road right now and these are three choices that I had to make early on that continue to help me each day as I struggle to cope and understand.
I am CHOOSING to seek God’s perspective on my struggle. That is the purpose of this 40 Day blog project, opening up on my journey of seeking him in our hurt and what we are learning along the way. I invite you to join me on this journey by connecting on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribing to the blog. I would love to hear your thoughts on the choices that you have had to make along your difficult journeys as well.
This is a song that I have listened to many times in our struggle that echos the importance of choosing him in the good times and bad. I hope that it blesses you as much as it has me.