Are You Facing A Storm? Jesus Is Bigger Than We Let Him Be (A Thought to Think)

Pt. 1 of "Are You In A Storm? Jesus is Bigger Than We Let Him Be." A true story by Traci Burns via @JeanWilund.com

My friend Traci Burns likes to think. I think that’s a good thing.

Every Monday Traci texts her kids a Mom’s Thought for the Week, whether they like it or not. Moms get to do these kind of things.

She shared one with me recently, and I really liked it. It gave me a thought of my own: I should share some of Traci’s thoughts on my blog.

Better yet, I should let her share them on my blog. 

So I asked Traci to Join the Journey, and she said, “Ok.”

Traci actually has more than just thoughts to share with us. She has a story only God could write.

Here’s a small glimpse of her story and a thought that made her think before the story began. 

Jesus Is Bigger Than We Let Him Be

by Traci Burns

When I attended church on Sunday, May 29, 2011, I had no idea how the sermon I heard that day would impact my life. 

It was titled “Jesus Stills a Storm,” and it came from Mark 4:35-41.

Jesus and His disciples were in a boat when a storm hit. Jesus was asleep in the bottom of the boat while His disciples faced the storm.

Frightened, the disciples woke Jesus and asked Him, “Don’t you care if we drown?”

Jesus stood and calmed the storm.

The speaker explained that Jesus could sleep because He wasn’t stressed, not because He didn’t care.

Jesus is bigger than we let Him be. He's still in your boat. He's still in control. And He's preparing to act. (Introducing Traci Burns via @JeanWilund)He told us to remember three things when we face our own storms:

  1. Jesus is still in our boat.
  2. Jesus is still in control.
  3. Jesus is preparing to act.

When a fierce storm hits, Jesus is doing something that couldn’t be done in any other environment — something He couldn’t accomplish under any other set of circumstances.

Within a year, the third point is one I would need in a way I never expected — or wanted.

Just as the disciples learned that Jesus is big enough to make the wind and waves obey and to still a raging storm, I, too, would soon learn that Jesus is bigger than we let Him be.

I’ll share what happened next time, and while it’s not a story I enjoy telling, it’s a story that needs to be told.

I know I’m not the only one who’s been in a storm and could say that it certainly looked like Jesus was neither in the boat, in control, or preparing to do a thing.

But if we thought that, we’d be wrong.

Join me next time.

Thanks,
Traci


I hope you enjoyed this first Thought to Think by Traci and will join us again for the next part of her story. As I said, it’s a story only God could write.

As I think about what Traci shared above, it makes me so grateful storms don’t disturb Christ. They can throw us into despair faster than a snow flurry can empty a grocery store in the South. But they don’t throw Christ.

He’s able to take our storms and bend them to His will. In fact, He does some of His most awe-inspiring work in the middle of a storm.

We’ll see some of His amazing handiwork in the story Traci has to share.

Traci herself is an amazing piece of work — and I mean that in the best way possible. I truly do.


Click this link to read Traci’s next post:
small boat. Big Storm. Sleeping Jesus?


MEET TRACI:

Traci Burns "Thoughts To Think" on Join the Journey (www.JeanWilund.com)Traci Burns is a wife and mom. It’s the role she always wanted and has truly enjoyed.

She stayed at home with her children and raised them with God’s help. She made mistakes along the way, but she got a lot other things right.

Now that her children are grown, she’s seeking the Lord to discover what her next role should be. She can’t wait to find out what He tells her.

She started out life in Sandy Run, SC, but now lives through the woods and down the street from me in Lexington.

We met when our children were tiny. Besides sharing parenting tips until we both agreed we don’t have a clue what we’re doing, we share a passion for coffee and comedy.

We now sip cappuccinos and laugh — or shake our heads — at some of our mistakes. Sometimes we cry, but mostly we laugh because Traci is hilarious.

I’ve told her a gazillion times (no lie, but maybe an exaggeration) that she should’ve been a stand-up comedian.

Don’t they say that most comedians are born out of adversity? I wish this wasn’t true in Traci’s case, but it is.

Her life hasn’t been all adversity, though. She’s gotten to spend a lot of time with me, remember?

She’s also been blessed with an incredible husband, children, and friends. And that dog named Lucky. Hmmmm.

Best of all, Traci enjoys a deep relationship with God that’s continues to allow her to laugh even when she ought to be crying.

I hope you’ll join the journey as Traci brings us encouragement, laughter, and hope through her Thoughts To Think. 

Jesus Is Bigger Than We Let Him Be #ThoughtsToThink #TrustChrist Click To Tweet




My Top Ten List of Why I Don’t Want to Surrender to God (Part Two — The Surrender Series)

Click to read post: My Top Ten List of Why I Don't Want to Surrender to God (Part Two -- Surrender Series)

My Top Ten List of Why I Don’t Want to Surrender to God (Part Two — Surrender Series)

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Even Jesus had an “I don’t want to surrender” list. 

His list only had one item on it, though, not ten.

There in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced His reason not to want to surrender to God: He didn’t want to be separated from Him.

Christ knew the instant He took on the sin of the world, “became sin” as the Bible says, God would have to turn His face away from Christ. God’s holiness and our sin don’t mix.

If Jesus chose to surrender to the way of the cross, He was choosing to be separated from God.

Notice that I said Jesus had a list. I didn’t go so far as to say He didn’t want to surrender.

Christ wanted to surrender, but He had a list of one good reason why He wouldn’t want to surrender if He didn’t want to surrender, but He did want to, so He prayed, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

None of us can put “I Don’t Want to Be Separated From God” on our top ten list of why we don’t want to surrender. For us, surrendering doesn’t interrupt our fellowship with God, it assures it. 

So what’s on my top ten list of why I don’t want to fully surrender to God?

1.    Unbelief

If we’ve never experienced living a fully surrendered life, nor seen others live surrendered, we’re forced to take God’s Word on faith.

That’s not always our favorite thing to do. Most of us prefer to see where we’ll land before we leap. 

Just because God’s Word says it works, or others say so, doesn’t mean we’re naturally going to trust it will work for us.

“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

2.   Bad Press

A life of surrender to God is often portrayed as a life of nothing but sacrifice and pain. 

The Egyptian Christians surrendered, and ISIS chopped off their heads, right?

That’s not exactly appealing advertising for enlisting us into a life of surrender. 

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

3.   Past Hurts

Most of us have been disappointed by someone or something in which we’ve placed our faith. Those times color our desire to surrender to anyone else again, even God.

We don’t want to believe that God would let us down, but deep inside, we’re scared He will. 

Surrendering to an individual can be scary. We’re giving them control over us. 

There are people to whom no one should ever surrender in any way, but God is not one of them.  

“Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16)

4.   Enough is Enough

Since the day we were born, people have been telling us what to do. Our parents, teachers, coaches, boss, the government, etc. have told us what to do.

“Enough!” we say. We’re tired of doing what everyone else wants us to do. 

“Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say?” (Luke 6:46)

5.   Dreams

What if surrendering to God means giving up our hopes and dreams and accepting a life that will be rigid and trapped? 

We’ll be forced to accept God’s dreams for us instead of our own. 

We may fear God’s dreams for us will be “important,” but not fun, something we should want, but don’t really want.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20)

6.   Fear

If we surrender to God, will He send us off to live in a dilapidated hut somewhere in the middle of nowhere as a missionary?

Will we end up in one of ISIS’ death cages?

We’re afraid God’s “best for our life” might actually land us somewhere we’re scared to be.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

7. Loss of Identity

Hollywood has done an effective job painting Christians as pathetic, judgmental, carbon-copy Christians that make even actual Christians watching the movie cheer against them. 

To be fair, many of us Christians have given them plenty of fodder to work with as they write their scripts.

We may fear that surrendering to Christ means surrendering who we are to become a Bible-toting, bland version of who we once were. Who wants to become a Stepford wife?

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14)

8. Comfort

Some of us are willing to give up some control of our lives to God, but we’re afraid to give Him total control because we’ve built a comfortable life, and we’re afraid of losing it.

We like living under the radar. We want to be left alone. 

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)

9.  Pride

If we’re truly honest with ourselves, the #1 reason we don’t want to surrender to God is because, in our human pride, we want to be God. 

We want to call the shots in our life, until we get into trouble. Then we suddenly want Him to show up and be Almighty God for us. (Actually, we want Him to be our Genie in a bottle. We still want to be God.)  

“One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23)

10.  Ignorance or Dellusion

Some of us simply just don’t know we’re supposed to surrender to God. Christianity is new to us, so we’re still learning what a life with God really means. 

Others of us believe we have surrendered when we actually haven’t.

We don’t know what it looks like to be fully surrendered, so we think we have, but we’ve come short of full-all-out surrender.

Still, others of us declare we have, but it’s just a show. Our pride may be so strong that we’ve even fooled ourselves.

If you imply we haven’t surrendered, we’ll fight you over it. (By the way, if you’re ready to fight over this, it’s a pretty good sign that you haven’t fully surrendered.)

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

 

Now for some soul searching.  

We have to ask ourselves if we’re living right now fully surrendered to God.

Are we experiencing the Whatever-You-say-God-I-only-want-what-You-want-for-my-life-and-nothing-else-no-matter-what-the-cost kind of surrender? 

Our lives will never be what God intended them to be, nor what we really want them to be, until we live fully surrendered to Him. 

Surrender is a moment-by-moment choice. It’s not a one-time decision like salvation. 

Which of these reasons (or others) may be blocking our path?

We’ll talk about dealing with these obstacles in a later post, but here’s a hint: When you come to know God and His character as He really is, the obstacles melt away.

Now that you’ve seen my top ten reasons for not wanting to surrender, what are yours? Do you have some I didn’t mention? Add to my list in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you.

In my next Surrender Series post, we’ll look at an eye-opening realization that helped remove the stumbling blocks in my path to surrender. It was an “A Ha! moment” that changed me. Stay tuned!

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Sharing is Caring, so care away!

Click to Tweet: Here’s My Top Ten List of Why I Don’t Want to Surrender to God. What’s Yours?

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The Day I Made the Worst Decision of My Life (Part One – The Surrender Series)

Click to read: The Day I Made the Worst Decision of My Life (The Surrender Series)

The Day I Made the Worst Decision of My Life (Part One in The Surrender Series)

_______________________†_______________________

Many years ago I made the worst decision of my life. 

No, it wasn’t when I chose German as my college major. I found it wonderfully helpful thirty years later when when I traveled through Germany. 

My worst decision came as I sat on a vinyl covered bar stool and walked away from God. 

God and I had come to an impasse.

The life I wanted for myself didn’t match the life He seemed to want for me, so I told Him the time had come for us to go our separate ways . . . for now. 

I told Him I wouldn’t be gone forever.

I hadn’t stopped feeling love for Him, but He wanted me to surrender to Him, and I wanted Him to surrender to me. 

Since we both refused to give in, I made the worst decision of my life.

I refused to surrender to the only one worth surrendering to — the only one who can be trusted to truly know what’s best for me. 

Two years and many scars later, I found my way back to God, ready to surrender. 

At least I thought I’d surrendered. I’d learn later that God still had much to teach me.

Refreshed in my new-found relationship with God, I experienced many years of happiness and inner joy. These years erased much of the pain from the wounds I’d received during my wanderings, however, a roller coaster life of victories and failures continued to characterize my life.

Before long, I found myself digging my heels in again, on the verge of another impasse with God. My heart once again had set itself on something He seemed to be withholding from me.

Constant failure began to be my norm, and my heart cried out to God, “You always get to have your way, God. Please, let me have my way and just do what I’m asking You to do.”

Ever-patient, God spoke to me through His Word and into my aching heart and clouded mind. 

“No,” He said. “Your way leads to destruction because your way is paved with lies. Believe Me when I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)

Dying is a bit like winter. Resurrection is coming just as sure as the Spring.

Dying is a bit like winter. Resurrection is coming just as sure as the Spring. 

A friend of mine told me that she wasn’t afraid of being dead. She was only afraid of the process of dying. 

In the spiritual realm, I was afraid of both.

But I couldn’t avoid either.

I was already dying inside by fighting a battle I couldn’t win — and would’ve deeply regretted winning, if I had.

Little did I know that God was actually in the process of answering the true prayer of my heart.

I’d begged for relief. He knew what I really wanted was resurrection, and resurrection only comes after death.

Finally, on a warm Spring day, I sat on the cool, soft grass in the shade of my Vitex tree and died.

I told God, “You win. I can’t fight anymore. I don’t want to fight anymore. I just want You. I don’t care about anything else that I’ve ever wanted. Just give me You. I’ll do whatever You want me to do no matter what it costs me, and I don’t even care if You never bless me again. Just give me You.”

I died that day as I’d never died before — and I didn’t even have to wait three days for my resurrection. I stood up and walked into my house more free than I’d ever felt before.

God had won the battle, and I became the victor after all.

I had finally, fully surrendered to God.

Dying is a bit like winter.
Resurrection is coming just as sure as the Spring.
(Click to Tweet)

Apart from the moment I trusted Christ for my salvation, surrendering was the smartest thing I’ve ever done. (Marrying Larry was another moment of brilliance.)

Since that Spring day in my garden, I’ve learned that with God surrender is definitely surrender, but it’s also sweet because…

When we surrender to the God of Heaven,
we’re surrendering to:

the One who is worthy. (“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.” ~ Psalm 145:3),

the One who loves us supremely, (“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children,” ~ Psalm 103:17),

the One who controls everything that touches ours lives, (“Can anything happen without the Lord’s permission?” ~ Lamentations 3:37), 

the One who has our absolute best interest in mind, (“’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 a hope and a future.’” ~ Jeremiah 29:11),

the One who longs to shower us with goodness, (“For the Lord is a sun and shield; He gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” ~ Psalm 84:11),

the One who is more than able to perform all that He purposes to do, (“For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” ~ Isaiah 14:27)

When we really think about it, it shouldn’t be hard to surrender to someone like that.

What can possibly go wrong?

So then why do so few of us make the decision to hold nothing back and fully surrender to the One who is more than worthy to receive it all?

That’s a question we simply must answer. 

And that’s why our next journey together into the Word of God is going to be spent looking at what God says about surrender.

In my next post, we’ll look at different reasons why we may be resistant to a life of being fully surrendered to God. You’ve already gotten a glimpse into one of my reasons. (Yes, I have more.)

Have you struggled with surrendering in the past? Are you struggling with it now?

What questions do you want us to answer as we look at surrendering?

I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or email me. 

And then Join the Journey as we head into a life of daily, all-out, hold-nothing-back surrender to a God who’s worthy.

I’m personally working on building up frequent flier miles.

_______________________†_______________________

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In the Middle of the Storm “I Am” (by Crowder) ~ Monday Music

Click to view music video: I Am by Crowder. (In the middle of the storm I AM holding on to you!) "I AM everything you will ever need for every moment!" ~ God (Exodus 3:14-15)

In the middle of the storm,
this I know . . .

The Great I AM is holding on to me!

 

What does that really mean?

I’m glad you asked! 

The One who met Moses from within the burning bush and revealed His great Name, I AM, is holding on to me.

The One who brought the Israelites through the Red Sea and into the Promised Land is holding on to me.

The One who raised Jesus from the dead is holding on to me.

In the middle of the storm,
I AM Holding on,
I AM!

This is a powerful truth which will, sadly, not make a single bit of difference in my life at times — even when I’m longing to be held by The Great I AM

Why?

Unbelief!

Unbelief kept the Israelites out of the Promised Land — the land of rest and peace which The Great I AM promised to them.

Unbelief keeps me out of the rest and peace Christ bought for me with His blood.

Believe!

“I AM everything you need for every moment.” ~ God

When our son Bobby was young, the deep end of the pool terrified him. He could swim well and Larry, his strong father, was right there with him, but he wouldn’t jump in.

He didn’t believe he wouldn’t sink to the bottom and drown.

Larry did what any caring father would do.

He threw Bobby into the middle of the deep end. 

Bobby quickly resurfaced, beaming with shock and excitement.

“I popped back up!” he exclaimed to me.

Bobby is now a certified rescue diver who holds records among his friends for being able to hold his breath the longest under water.

He once held his breath so long during a lifeguard training class that the fellow student who was assigned to “rescue him” panicked. As Bobby lay peacefully on the bottom of the deep end, she thought she’d taken too long to rescue him and he’d drowned.

Bobby flourishes where others fear to tread, and it started because his father threw him into the deep end when he didn’t want to go. [†]

Sometimes God throws us into the deep end, but we never need to fear.

In the middle of the storm,
or the middle of the deep end,
I AM Holding on,
I AM!

Believe!

 

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Enjoy this short video of David Crowder sharing the inspiring story behind the band’s song “I Am.”

“No matter where you are in life, you live and breath in the very presence of God. . .  The Creator of the universe has given access to us. That’s gorgeous! But so many times I forget about that . . . in these moments when we feel the desperation, this clinging . . . we find that He’s actually holding us in His hands much more intensely than we could hope or dream.” ~ David Crowder

 

I hope this song and message encouraged you! If it did, I hope you’ll subscribe to my blog, and share this post with others. Use the handy share buttons, or, of course, there’s always the faithful “cut and paste” method.

Thanks for sharing, and thanks for leaving a comment. Hint Hint 😉

Click to Tweet: The Great I AM is holding on to you! Monday Music: “I Am” by Crowder

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[†] Sometimes we believe and tragedy still strikes. When that happens, remember that God didn’t fail you and neither did your faith.

The Great I AM is still holding on to you, and His perfect purpose for letting tragedy strike will be fulfilled for your good and His glory.

His purposes are beyond anything we can fathom, but He’s always good and always loving. Always. Believe. I AM is holding on to you. He won’t let go.

When God called Himself “I AM,” He was saying, “I AM everything you will ever need for every moment.” (Exodus 3:14)

(For more encouragement see the following verses. Hover your cursor over the verse to see the passage: Isaiah 55:8-9Romans 8:28, Psalms 145:9Psalms 100:5, 2 Corinthians 4:17, Jeremiah 29:11)

 

 




In the Middle of the Storm I AM Holding on to You!

 

In the middle of the storm I AM holding on to you! "I AM everything you will ever need for every moment!" ~ God (Exodus 3:14-15)

In the middle of the storm I AM holding on to you!
“I AM everything you will ever need for every moment!” ~ God (Exodus 3:14-15)

 

Remember!

The Great I AM is holding on to you.

He is everything you will ever need for every moment.

I shared this picture with you in hopes it will inspire you to praise today as you remember the One who is holding on to you. He will never let you go.

~†~

Then Moses said to God,
“If I come to the people of Israel and say to them,
‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’
and they ask me,
‘What is his name?’
what shall I say to them?”

God said to Moses,
I AM WHO I AM.
And He said, “Say this to the people of Israel,
I AM
has sent me to you.’”

God also said to Moses,
“Say this to the people of Israel,
‘The Lord,
the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob,
has sent me to you.’
This is My name forever,
and thus
I am to be remembered
throughout all generations.”
~ Exodus 3:13-15

 

 




When Life Explodes — Part Three

How do we have faith when life explodes?

How do we accept a God who is ok with pain?

In When Life Explodes — Part One, I said that even in the hardest times, we can rest in God, who must do all.

In When Life Explodes — Part Two, I shared the startling truth that God is ok with pain, but I didn’t tell you what to do with that truth. I left you with a cruel cliffhanger. Apparently, I’m fine with a little pain as well.

Can we accept a God who is ok with pain?

Forgive me for being blunt, but it’s not our place to decide what can and cannot be accepted about God.

He is God and worthy of all our praise, trust, and devotion.

All God does is right and just. All God does is perfect. (More on that in my post When Life Explodes — Part One.)

It’s not a matter of can we accept a God that is ok with pain, but rather:

Can we be ok with pain in the same way God is ok with pain?

Never consider for a second that God doesn’t care about our pain.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
(I Corinthians 13:6)  

“For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion,
according to His abundant lovingkindness.”
(Lamentations 3:32)

I’m not saying God is eager to cause pain, but that He’s fine with it when it’s necessary. Consider the butterfly. It must struggle to be released from its chrysalis or it won’t have the strength to survive outside it. It’s not a kindness to cut it loose and spare it the struggle. It’s doom.

Too often I’ve rushed in to solve my children’s problems so they’d be spared pain. I did it because I loved them, or so I thought. I do love them, but the truth is that I love my personal comfort more. Their pain caused me pain, and that was not acceptable. (Such a hard truth to admit!)

Case in point: When my babies’ cries for a middle of the night feeding interrupted my sleep one too many times, I decided right then that I loved them too much not to teach them to sleep through the night. It was good for them, I said—and it was—but the truth is that I wanted to sleep all night. My pain superseded theirs.

I knew my children wouldn’t die if they didn’t get fed in the middle of the night. Generations of children had survived quite well without it. It didn’t require faith on my part. I just needed strength to let them cry it out, which was fueled by my passion to get to uninterrupted sleep. We can say that I had end-from-the-beginning sight in this situation. I knew they’d survive and we’d both get to sleep — which was good for everyone. 

I’m fine with God causing pain with my pre-approval,
so long as He gives me end-from-the-beginning
sight or pure faith.

God, however, is not motivated by a desire to be relieved of pain. He doesn’t need faith or strength to allow pain. He has pure end-from-the-beginning sight. He understands it all from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10)

In God’s omniscience, He understands when pain is necessary,
even when it doesn’t seem necessary to us.

Consider these examples from the Bible:

In John 11, Mary and Martha were heartbroken. They’d sent word to Jesus that their brother, the one He loved, was sick, but Jesus didn’t come. He didn’t even speak a word to command that Lazarus be healed from across the miles, like He’d done for others. He sent a message He knew they wouldn’t understand, and He waited. He waited for Lazarus to die, and Mary and Martha to grieve their loss. Then He came, and even still, as they cried, He didn’t make them understand. He let them remain in the dark until the time He chose. Ouch.

In Mark 5, God was fine with allowing a woman to live twelve long years with “an issue of blood” without relief. Ouch.

In John 9, God was fine with causing a man to be born blind and requiring him to live into his adult years as a blind man in that difficult culture. Ouch.

Why was God fine with all this pain?

As the Author, God knew the glorious end from the beginning.

He knew the extravagant good that would come from every bit of the pain.

Jesus knew He’d raise Lazarus from the dead, bringing him out of the grave four days after he’d died.

He knew He’d heal the bleeding woman instantly as she touched the fringe of His cloak because of her faith.

He knew He’d give the blind man his sight in front of many who could not deny what Christ had done.

In each impossible, painful situation, they experienced joy beyond measure. They experienced more joy than they would had Lazarus been healed before they knew how serious his sickness was, had the woman been healed soon after she began to bleed, and had the blind man been given sight soon after birth. In each of these situations everyone around came to know that God is a God of all power, and God was greatly glorified.

When I remember God is the Author of my story,
I can trust every path He places my loved ones
and me on—even those permeated in pain.

Here’s the hard one, though, and again, the reason why fetal-position faith can be my fallback position:

In Matthew 11, we find John the Baptist in prison. He sent word to Christ, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”

If it were in my power, I’d have released John from prison. (Maybe this was even behind John’s question.) I certainly would have spared his life.

What did Jesus do?

He sent word to John quoting passages mostly from Isaiah 35 and Isaiah 61, which describe the works Messiah would do. Jesus was doing these works, but He conspicuously left out the part where Messiah would “proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” I’m sure that didn’t go unnoticed by Jesus’ faithful prophet, disciple, and cousin.

Jesus left John to die in prison. Ouch.

It was not in God’s great plan to free John on earth, but to allow him to be beheaded.

Must we accept that we have a God that is, at times, unkind?

NO!

To accept that would be to accept a lie.

Our feelings do not determine the truth about God;
they can, however, reveal the frailty of our faith
and the limited scope of our sight.

God is still the wise, perfect God He’s always been. He knows the right path for each of us. He chooses the one that will bring Him the most glory and us the greatest good. As a dear friend always counsels me:

Never forget in the dark
what God has shown you in the light.

John didn’t forget. He didn’t stop believing in Christ just because Jesus didn’t set him free from prison on earth.

I believe John reached out and was fully satisfied that God can be trusted regardless. You have to choose, however, if you’ll believe the truth and walk in the light, or listen to the lie of doubt and cower in the darkness.

Will you confess:

If God is fine with pain, then I’m fine with pain.

(Quick, important disclaimer: As I’ve said before, I am NOT saying you should be fine with abuse. Any abuse is wrong. Wisely seek immediate help. Those who are abused are often too afraid to expose their abuser. Throw yourself face-down before God and trust Him to give you the strength to get to safety. Curling up in a fetal-position will only lead to a worse situation down the road.)

Fetal-Position Faith leads to misery and sleepless nights.
Face-Down Faith breaks the grip of fear
and brings peace and joy.

I’m choosing to die to my selfish will and accept all God has for me, including the pain, because I can trust Him with it all.

The crazy thing is, that as I’ve chosen to be fine with pain, I have been. I’ve not been dragged down by it.

Fear and faith truly cannot reside together! Surpassing peace permeates my heart instead of pain.

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

As my Loving Father, Sovereign God,
and the Author of every road I travel,
I can trust each road to be
the right road for me at that time.

No doubt when life explodes I may still be inclined to curl up into a fetal position. I’m human, and sometimes as the pain screams, my faith fails. But, it’s always my choice whether I’ll stay in a fetal position.

After Christ fell face-down before God in the Garden of Gethsemane, He rose and went out to meet His future. As He said to His disciples, He says to us, “Rise! Let us go!”  (Mark 14:42)

Let’s rise and walk out to meet our future without fear, no matter what it holds.

Christ’s immediate future was to meet His betrayer Judas and face a gruesome death on the cross, but it was followed by His glorious resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God the Father Almighty and freedom from the power of sin to all who believe.

When life explodes,
will you choose fetal-position faith,
which leads to fear and misery,
or face-down faith that rises to confidence
in a God Who can be trusted?

I hope this series blessed you! If it has, will you please share it with others? Not because I want others to read what I’ve written, but because I want others to experience the freedom from fear found in God.

How has God set you free When Life Explodes? Share your story by clicking on “Comment.”