From The Pastor's Desk

Look Up

On occasion, I like to pass along some information that I have found to be personally beneficial.  I know that there is SO much negative news in the world, that it’s good to be able to read something good, positive, and true.  The following is a powerful excerpt from Dr. David Jeremiah’s book When Your World Falls Apart.  Chapter nine of that book is entitled When You Are at Your Wits’ End.  At the beginning of that chapter, Dr. Jeremiah includes a testimonial from a close friend of his, Dr. Marv Eastlund.  I have emphasized certain portions in hopes of drawing attention and enabling concentration.  Read and be encouraged!  MP

There are certain kinds of change none of us ask for, and none of us receive with open arms.  In my life, pancreatitis was an uninvited visitor-the last item that would ever have appeared on my agenda.  I was thoroughly miserable when the doctors broke the news to me about it.

The dreadful disease moved into my life like a tornado, demolishing my control over my life, my career, and all my plans for the future.  My first reaction was intense anger, to be honest.  I resisted this outrageous medical intrusion and fought it with all the energy I could muster.  One of my main weapons was denial.  I insisted on keeping my usual schedule and simply ignoring the pain.

That was a losing battle, as I’m sure you can imagine.  The pancreatitis won.  I soon reached my pain threshold, and I could no longer pretend that my body was fine and healthy.  I was filled with anger.  Who could I blame?  I could find no scapegoat, so I blamed myself.  Anger gave way to discouragement and self-pity.  I wallowed in my own misery for extended periods of time, fully realizing that I was sick-really sick-and that my life would never be the same.  What response was there for me but despair and gloom?  I became consumed with my own problems.  And if there was any small thread of hope left within me, the repeated hospitalizations snuffed it out.

Discouragement gave way to depression. There were days I could do nothing but sit and stare.  My family tried desperately to encourage me, but I made certain they didn’t succeed.  I was investing a good bit of energy in my negative emotions, and I didn’t want to cheer up.  Life was unfair.  The future was hopeless.

And yet deep within me, there was the nagging question of my faith.  I couldn’t give up the life commitment I had made to God.  He means too much for me to simply turn away from Him.  So I was being torn by great spiritual conflict:  How could a believer experience the thoughts and emotions I was feeling?  Why had God let me sink into anger, discouragement, and depression?  If my faith was as strong as I’d always thought it was, why, then-how, then-could I now be questioning His very existence?  Where was He?  Why didn’t He answer my pleas?

My faith was on very rocky ground indeed.  Physically, mentally, and spiritually, I had come to my wits’ end.  I had nowhere to turn.  So I lay down on my back one day, sighed deeply, and stared up at the ceiling.

And as I did that, I realized that my eyes were fixed in the right direction-up.  I was looking toward heaven.  Up was the only direction a bed patient could look.  And with new resolution, I realized I had to be faithful to Him and keep trusting Him.  I could not turn away.  As distant as He seemed at times, I realized that my pain and despair only served to draw me close to Him than health and happiness could ever have brought me.

Through the pain, I began to know Him better.  I found a friend in God, a genuine Friend I had never known before.

I see my problems differently now.  When life closes in, I know that the only way out is the way up.

 Micah Perry

Posted by Pastor Micah Perry on Aug.23, 2017