How often do I reach for my glasses and can't seem to find them?
Or how often have I followed directions on my "smart phone", only to be totally lost?
Realistically, I could not give you a number for any of the above.
But what if your mind doesn't work the way it used to, and you forget people's names, or tell your children the same story yet again? Is my mind being misplaced? Or is it displaced? I am not quite sure.
What if you had a job that you were successful at for years and all of a sudden your boss walks in and says: "I've decided to go a different direction", and no further explanation was given?
What if your spouse walks in your home one day, and says "I'm done, this just isn't working for me anymore."
What if you answer the phone in the middle of the night and hear the words, "there has been an accident"?
Or the doctor calls and says "I need to see you today. Your results are in". (for the record, if you get a phone call like that, it is never good news; great news can be conveyed on the phone).
What if your child who has been exemplary all their life, gets in trouble with their friends and you wonder, "where did I go wrong?"
What do we do in times like this?
We have choices; yet how and what we choose determines how we deal with change.
I have to admit that I kick and scream (not loudly, more in my mind) long before I ever get to the acceptance stage.
Our choices in how we respond tremendously affects us.
Unfortunately for me, so often I react instead of think and act. It has caused me some tremendous heartache in my life. And how often I wish I could backtrack and respond differently.
I wish I could be like some friends of ours. The grace they show and extend to others totally blows me away. One night they received the tragic news that their youngest son had died. They told their family but kept the news from the rest of us for over 24 hours, until we could celebrate the blessings of sixty years of Young Life in our city.
I am amazed and caught off guard by the grace and love and concern for others this couple felt in the midst of the worst day of their lives.
What if we all reacted like them?
What if we showed grace when it wasn't deserved?
And isn't that just what grace is. Undeserved favor and blessing.
Exactly what Christ offers each of us every single day of our lives.
What if the job we had been displaced by, the partner that replaced us, the things we lost and misplaced, could be seen as opportunities for us to respond the way God envisions us responding?
I ask myself, Is that even possible?
It is. But only if we involve Jesus in the process.
The times when we most feel like lashing out are the times when we just need to be quiet, to sit in the hurt, the pain, the bitterness and let God begin to transform our minds and our hearts.
One of my favorite verses to meditate on is Romans 12:2a.
The New Living Version states:
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this
world, but let God transform you into a new
person by changing the way you think."
Oh my, forty plus years of walking with Jesus, trying to be who He sees me to be, and yet I am still holding on to my ways far too often. I so desire for Him to transform my thinking. But I must make the conscious decision to turn to Him immediately when my world has been rocked. Slowly, very slowly, I am letting this happen, but why did I not realize this decades ago?
So when life throws you curve balls that were so unexpected, and it always will do that because who plans for tragedy, and job loss and a divorce, or a wayward child, practice turning to God before you say a thing, before a word leaves your tongue.
Cry out to God.
Keep your mouth shut.
Listen. Keep listening.
Don't miss what HE has for you in this trial and pain that snuck up on you. One thing I have learned and know for sure: GOD NEVER WASTES THE PAIN in our lives. He will use it to transform us, to encourage others, to bring Him glory.
That's the one thing I tend to forget most often; I am here to bring GOD glory. It is all about Him, not me.
So in those deep hard hard moments, cry out to Him before you respond. He is there, waiting for you. It won't be easy but you will never be alone.