It hasn’t been quite as long as it would appear since I last posted. I actually had a post in May discussing how difficult it is to actually apply the theology we know to be true when we encounter the worst that life gives us. Unfortunately that post was lost because of problems I had with the site. **Scratch all of that, thanks to Google’s cache system, I was able to retrieve my lost post.** Fortunately that was all that was lost because I saved my old backup. I also used this as an opportunity to update the look of this section. Eventually the entire Spreadinglight site will look like this but at the rate I’m going it might take another year.
This has been a rough year as I had alluded to in my now lost post. It hasn’t gotten any better in the last three months. Like all times there have been peaks and valleys but this year has been more valleys than peaks. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure if I can even recall a peak from this year.
Last week was the worst punch to the gut yet. It was completely unrelated to any of the other difficulties this past year but it was personal in a way the other problems weren’t. It left me angry and depressed and probably feeling a range of other negative emotions.
Now, before I get any further into this post and start to make you depressed or you think that this is a “woe is me” post, it’s not. The point of this is just the opposite. We’ve probably all been at a point in our life where we just didn’t want to hear any sympathy from anyone else, even if it was well intentioned and Biblical. Well, what do you do if you have a friend who is going through such a problem? You have to pray. The only thing that you can possibly do is pray.
I’m not going to say that I was at a place where I wasn’t going to listen to anyone. The truth of the matter is that I didn’t feel like I needed to listen to anyone. As a pastor I know all of the “answers.” God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. God has a plan for even this setback. Everything is according to God’s timetable. I don’t believe that I even wavered in my belief of any of those things but frankly there are times when those thoughts just don’t resonate with where you are at. In those times, all you can do is wait for God to lift you back up.
Fortunately I know that I have a lot of people praying for me. This past week, I don’t think that it was by coincidence that I spoke on spiritual warfare and the targets that all Christians, but especially pastors, have on their backs. I won’t pretend to be over the hurt that I experienced last week in particular but I know that I am feeling better only because of prayer. But I also know that things are looking better right now than they did a week ago.
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:12 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” I won’t pretend that I’ve reached the level that Paul did and am capable of being content in all circumstances. But I do believe that there were probably times in Paul’s life that he struggled with frustration from people not listening to him or while he sat in jail. And I have to believe that part of Paul’s secret of contentment was knowing that when no other words would help him, God would still lift him up on his darkest days.