Since life is so unpredictable, it often unravels. All my carefully constructed plans can fall apart within minutes after the doctor presents his diagnosis, I open an email intended for someone else, or the consultant decides my job is expendable.
What do we do when life unravels? How do we react so that the very essence of our souls doesn’t become undone?
In a recent issue of The Christian Leader, I wrote an article which included these practical tips from Psalm 43, principles I try to follow when life unravels.
Action Point 1: Focus on God instead of the problem.
Psalm 43:1-2, “Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! For Thou art the God of my strength; why hast Thou rejected me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
God delivers me from oppression, such as the new level of rejection I face from Mom’s Alzheimer’s. When her memories of me fade, I need someone stronger than I to plead my case and vindicate me.
As I focus on God and his strength, I think more positively and take baby steps toward accepting the next phase of Mom’s illness.
Action Point 2: Focus on the lesson instead of the pain.
Psalm 43:3, “O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Thy holy hill and to Thy dwelling place.”
God’s light and truth lead me through the unraveling yarns of health issues. Even within pain, he brings me to that place of utter peace, that inner holy of holies where I rest in his strength.
As I stay alert for his light and truth, he whispers the phrase of a song or directs me to a passage of scripture. When I focus on the lesson rather than the pain, God teaches me more of what I need to know in my faith journey. His beacon of truth points me to some of the richer treasures of faith and trust.
As I focus on the lesson God wants to teach me, my pain becomes the secondary focus and a bit easier to bear.
Action Point 3: Focus on the future instead of the present.
Psalm 43:5, “Why are you in depair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him, the help of my countenance, and my God.”
King David reminds me to stay in hope. I think of this important principle as, “Living in the Yet.”
To live in the yet, I focus on the future – when this present circumstance wears down, when I work through the grief, when I learn the lesson.
All the unravelings of life, these temporary afflictions, eventually end. Some last longer than others and test my perseverance. Some need extra amounts of God’s power-filled grace. Some are blessedly brief. But all trials eventually end.
As I live in the yet, I praise God that the end will indeed occur and then hopefully, my faith muscles will be stronger, my trust in him deeper.
No matter what unravels next, I’m grateful for Psalm 43 and determined to live in the yet.
©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo