When Life Unravels

frayed_ropeSince 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


When Life Unravels

Whether it’s unemployment, Alzheimer’s or a personal tragedy – all of us face moments when life unravels. When our carefully controlled spheres no longer make sense and nothing we do can change the circumstances.

UnraveledHow do we deal with life when it unravels?

Psalm 43 gives us three action points.

Focus on God; not the problem.

Psalm 43:1-2 reminds us that God defends us and delivers us. He is the vindicator and the one in whom we take refuge. As we focus on God, we think more positively and we’re better able to deal with the problem.

As Reverend G explains it during her own unraveling, “The question may be ‘Why’ but the answer is ‘Who.’”

Focus on the lesson; not the pain.

Psalm 43:3 promises that God’s light and his truth will lead us. He will bring us to his holy hill and to his dwelling – to that place of utter peace whether we’re in heaven or on earth.

When we focus on the lesson, we ask God to teach us what we need to know about our own faith journey. We  learn how to purge some of the worldly attitudes that seem to control us. We  learn more about God’s power and his love for us. And certainly, we  learn more about trust.

As we focus on the lesson God wants to teach us, the pain becomes the secondary focus and a bit easier to bear.

Focus on the future; not the present.

In Psalm 43:5, King David reminds us to keep our hope in God because he is our salvation. He teaches us an important principle that I like to call, “Living in the Yet.”

“Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

As we focus on the future, we think about living in the yet – when this present circumstance has worn itself down, when we have worked through the grief, when we have learned the lesson.

Ultimately, the things we go through on earth will be just a tiny speck of memory. Someday, none of these unravelings will ever affect us again.

Focus on the future, not on the present circumstance. Live in the yet and stay in hope.

©2013 RJ Thesman