by Kim Gunderson
Nothing shakes the foundation of our lives like experiencing pain. I don’t mean the stub-your-toe-and-a-bad-word-might-slip-out kind. I’m talking about the gut-wrenching, life-altering, never-the-same-again, questioning-all-you-know variety.
The visit to the doctor. The phone call from a parent. The funeral. The discussion with your boss, your spouse, or even your child.
It’s been said that we’re either going through a difficult time, coming out of one, or about to head into one. Interestingly enough, Scripture shares this thought: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” (James 1:2, NLT)
Jesus himself said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT)
When troubles come…you will have many trials and sorrows. There is no question as to whether or not we’ll face trials and difficulties. Scripture makes it clear. Jesus makes it clear. Open the newspaper, turn on the TV, check social media and you’ll witness story after story of broken lives engulfed in suffering and sorrow, pain and disappointment.
One of my own life-altering trials began the day my house caught on fire and my youngest daughter died. Everything I thought I knew about life, family and even myself was shaken to the core. I felt disoriented and disillusioned, disappointed and full of despair. To say my foundation experienced a seismic earthquake that day is like saying the sky is blue.
And yet…I wasn’t destroyed. Yes, I was broken, but not beyond repair. My heart was shattered, but it’s being renewed. My foundation was shaken, but it never collapsed.
So how did I survive that seismic quake? Is it possible for you to survive what’s facing you now, or in the future, as well? What is a person to do when those troubled times come knocking at the door?
We need to make a choice: a choice to live in freedom or remain bound to pain. We can choose to follow the One who loves us unconditionally, believing that God is good, no matter what, and that He is working out a plan through our lives that will bring Him glory. A choice to trust Him even when we can’t see the end, when the pain is strong and everything looks upside down and inside out. A choice to believe Scripture’s truth over our feelings and the promises of God over the thoughts swirling in our minds. Or we can choose to remain tied up in shackles, stuck in the pain and sorrow of our circumstances, believing life is out to get us, to destroy us, and that we’ll never heal. The choice is ours, and we are free to choose.
When we choose Jesus, we don’t walk through those storms alone. Remember Jesus’s words in John 16:33? Yes, He declared there will be trials in our lives. Difficult times will happen, but life doesn’t stop there. He calls us to take heart because He has overcome the world.
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27, NLT)
That means when we face sorrow, He leans in, tenderly caring for our hearts, catching our tears in a bottle, binding up our wounds.
When we feel afraid or worried, we can rest in the shadow and protection of His wings.
When we’re unsure or confused, He provides the wisdom and direction we need to take the next step.
When we’re caught in the snare of sin, trapped in a cycle of unhealthy choices and consequences, He showers us with grace and mercy, wooing us to a life of freedom as we choose to follow Him. He pulls us up from the muck and sets our feet on solid ground.
How do we know? Grab a Bible and start reading in the Gospels—four books full of stories about God’s Son. Remind yourself of the love and mercy He displayed for those He interacted with throughout His life. Pore over His death and resurrection and soak in the grace of His sacrifice. He is the Rock on whom we can build our lives so when the storm comes and our foundation is shaken, we can remain firm, no matter what.
Whom do you depend upon when the storms of life hit? Is your foundation unshakable?
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photo credit Kim Gunderson
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