You know?…you grow up in a family where nothing super-spectacular happens. And by “super-spectacular”, I mean, nothing really super bad. At least nothing you know of…or though you think.
I grew up in that kind of family. I had the bestest of parents. They loved me and my sister with an unexplainable, incomparable love…even to this day. I’m not bragging…just saying.
They provided. They supported. They praised. They loved. They laughed. They were simply the best, hands down.
They rarely, if ever, argued (at least in front of us sisters.) They rarely, if ever, displayed any kind of concern or worry or fear of the future. They loved their family…they loved their God…they served…they sacrificed…they ministered…they worshiped with all that they were.
When you grow up with parents like that, in a family like that, in situations like that, you think to yourself, “Hey, what in the world could go wrong? I mean…I’m me…these are my parents…this is my world…life is pretty much perfect. Really.”
Don’t get me wrong…all of those things are very true. My parents were, and still are, the bestest. And they did love me and my sister with that kind of love. And they did provide and they did support and they did love and they did serve and they did minister and they did worship with all that they were.
So, the misconception sneaks in that, because all of this is true, that surely, SURELY, SURELY, nothing bad could happen, right?
Family members die way too early.
Illnesses and diagnoses challenge our faith…and our hope.
Unexpected circumstances shake our world.
Crap happens, people.
To the best of the best of the best.
And to the worst of the worst of the worst.
No matter what kind of situation you grew up in, that’s your normal. And you really can’t imagine things happening that are worse than your normal.
This seems like such a downer subject, but one that needs to be realized.
No one is immune to the crap of a broken, sinful, selfish, crap world.
When David and I married nearly 35 years ago, in the innocence of our youth, we had no idea what we would face…as individuals and as a couple. Cancer. A life-threatening lung disease. A serious motorcycle accident. A could-have-been fatal car accident. A parent dying way, WAY too soon. Other family members dying long before their time…some way too very young. Close friends stabbing us in the back. And the closest friend dealing with a condition that took her life in the prime of hers.
I could go on.
But here is my point (I know you were hoping I’d get to it): No matter who you are, no matter how you grew up, no matter how privileged you were or are or were not…life is just not fair! (And honestly…no one ever promised that.)
Even as I write this, part of my immediate family, part of my very heart, is struggling with something unmentionable…and if you had told me several years ago that this particular thing was going to happen, I would have told you were smoking something way too strong! No way, José!!!
But…it did happen…and it is happening as we speak. And the consequences are, and could continue to be, unspeakable and devastating and unimaginable.
Don’t ever, ever think that you are immune or protected from the worst of circumstances. You are not! But I’m not saying that to scare you, but to prepare you.
In John 16:33, Jesus reminds us, “In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties…” That’s a fact, Jack! (And yes, He goes on to tell us that He has conquered the world. THANK YOU, JESUS!)
But we simply cannot face those difficulties with fear…because the apostle Paul, in 2 Timothy 1:7, told us, “…God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
We can’t face the stuff in our lives with fear and as a cowering coward…but we face them with the power and the love and the sensibility that God gives us.
We are not victims!
We all face situations in our life when we feel afraid…to the core of the deepest part of our deepest being. There’s simply no denying that. But please, please remember this…that fear is not from God. God isn’t making you feel that way. God didn’t give you that fear.
But look what He HAS given you…power…love…clear thinking.
Those three things are the very things that are going to get you and me through the hardest things we will face in this earth-bound life.
So, whatever you are facing in your life at this very moment, remember that you are not powerless. It may seem that way, but you are not. Face it with power…face it with love…face it with self-control.
That is what will make all the difference! I promise!