Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Don't confuse life with God.

Pretty in the wind

Every where we look we see suffering, we see pain.
Chaos.
Fear.
Loss.

It is hard to come to terms with it all.
When I hear people praising God for protecting them I can only cry for those who do not have that same joy.

I think about this a lot.

In Philip Yancey's book "Disappointment with God", he shares a story about a man who had just about everything go wrong.  His name was Douglas.  Douglas told Yancey he was not disappointed with God.  He said, :  "Don't confuse life with God."

How profound.

Yes. Life is painful and unfair and scary.
Oh man, is it unfair.

But Douglas is right...

Our trials on this earth do not diminish who God is.

In times like these, we need His great Love so we can pass it on and we
need the hope He offers.

Let us be sensitive and careful with our words when others suffer and grieve.
Not everyone is in the same place in their faith walk.
It can be jarring and confusing to hear 'jesus protected my family' to a person who just lost a child.
(It jars and confuses me.)

Be sensitive.
It's kinder.



Encourage one another,
Donna






46 comments:

  1. Just having this discussion with my husband this morning. Thanks so much for the post. ♥ So well said.

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  2. Just having this discussion with my husband this morning. Thanks so much for the post. ♥ So well said.

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  3. Douglas is wise. I have so much admiration for those who can be in the midst and see it that way; such a challenge with death and destruction at hand. Sending prayers for those affected and those who are helping.

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  4. I have ALWAYS thought that when someone interviewed responds that God heard them. Great post Donna.
    When I miscarried years ago a wise priest told me that GOd was sad right with me.

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    1. yes He was Kathy b - what a wonderful priest to share that. xxx

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  5. Anonymous10:19 AM

    "Let us be sensitive and careful with our words when others suffer and grieve.
    Not everyone is in the same place in their faith walk."

    ^^^This is so well said. I'm jarred and confused right along with you, Donna. Kindness and compassion and prayers are needed. It's sometimes all we have to give.

    Mary Z

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  6. Thank you. Well said.

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  7. I always go to these verses when I cannot understand life. And it helps.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

    For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

    a time to be born, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
    a time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to break down, and a time to build up;
    a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
    a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
    a time to seek, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
    a time to tear, and a time to sew;
    a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    a time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time for war, and a time for peace.

    In my own circle we're dealing with a 17 yo friend with an aggressive cancer and a 23 yo firefighter friend that just lost his life. Not to mention the horror in OK. Praying....

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    1. I've been praying for your people, Janet. But oh. 23? Oh my.

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    2. Anonymous2:13 AM

      Yes, so much comfort in these words!
      Kristi in LV

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  8. Anonymous10:31 AM

    I agree. Your thoughts and words have touched me deeply today.
    Thank you, Donna

    Sarah P. from Iowa

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  9. Exactly. We live in a broken and fallen world. God is sovereign, and worthy to be trusted. He is not 'out to get you' when you face the hardest trials of this life.. He is as grieved by our brokenness and the crying-out birth-pangs of a scarred world as we are. But oh, the peace and comfort to know that we are never alone as we walk!

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    1. Amen, sis. <3

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    2. "birth pangs of a scarred world...."

      Amen, Stephie!!!

      Di

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  10. You are so right ~

    And I've had to work hard not to wash people's feet with water that is too hot or too cold ~ metaphorically speaking.

    This Edith Schaeffer quote has helped me:
    DO NOT WASTE HARDSHIPS: "Overcome the temptation to waste the discovery of what God's strength in our weakness time after time is in a wide area of weaknesses; to waste the circumstances during which we found out that His grace is really sufficient, not just for other people we read about in the Bible, not just as a theological concept, not just as something to read about in morning prayer time and appreciate during a period of comfort, but to call for in the midst of troubles." Edith Schaeffer, The Life of Prayer, (Suffering and Prayer)

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  11. matthew loves phillip yancey. today i have a crying baby who doesn't like to be put down, a 2 1/2 year old who refuses to put on pants, and am trying to pack and get ready to leave early tomorrow morning for grandpa's funeral. life.

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    1. May the Lord bless you with extra strength Melinda. life is tough sometimes.

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    2. Melinda,

      I am so sorry about your precious grandfather. It is never easy to lose a beloved grandparent. My thoughts and prayers go with you as you travel to say farewell, until you meet again.

      Be kind and patient with yourself right now Melinda. Allow yourself time to grieve. The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

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    3. Bless you, Melinda! You're in my prayers as you care for those cute boys and grieve the loss of your dear grandfather. New life and loss so often intersect...these must be tender days for you!

      Take care,
      Di

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  12. As I was reading this wonderful and wise post, Donna - I thought of a hymn my Dad used to sing:

    In times like these you need a Savior
    In times like these you need an Anchor
    Be very sure, be very sure
    Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

    I hope to hang onto these words from Yancey's book that you shared. Thanks and God bless.

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    1. Julie4:59 PM

      Love that hymn, Susan.

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  13. Donna,
    So wise. So wise and comforting. Thank you for the reminder. "Don't confuse life with God..." It is easy to see God in the good things--harder to find Him when people are suffering.

    hmbalison

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  14. I love Phillip Yancey...his books are not always the prettiest pictures of Christians/church (which is what I like), and that quote is exactly spot-on--don't confuse life with God. Thank you for finding, once again, perfect words for the situation at hand.

    I am so overwhelmed by West, Grandbury, and now Moore...not to the point of losing hope, but to where I am pleading with Jesus to just come back. Just come back, Jesus.
    E.

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  15. I love that. Don't confuse life with God. Wow. Thank you for sharing, it has given me a new perspective.

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  16. This is beautiful, Donna.

    Prayers for those in Oklahoma who have suffered lose.

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  17. What happened in Oklahoma is such a tragedy ... We're thinking of all of you, all of people who have lost a child, a parent. This is so so so sad.

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  18. Oh, it's so true. And yet so hard to remember sometimes. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

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  19. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Thank you for these wise words, Donna. Lucas read a book a few years ago titled "Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami?" by David Bentley Hart. I tried to read the book but didn't get very far. Hart is a theologian and deep thinker and it hurt my brain. :) Lucas summarized it for me and basically, I think Hart's message was the same as the one you and Yancey are passing along, "Don't confuse life with God."

    Sandy C.

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  20. this is perfection. thank you.

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  21. I live in Oklahoma, my sister lives by Moore. She was supposed to be there. She wasn't. I'm so relieved that she's safe today. But I grieve for the parents of the children, for the families that no longer have a home.

    Bad things happen to wonderful people, thank you for the reminder to remember those who feel lost today.

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  22. Donna,

    Your posts this week have left this usually blabby commenter deeply touched and quiet. Thank you for your words. They are weaving into my soul, right where I need them.

    Thanks, my friend.

    Love,
    Di

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  23. Beautiful words. Amen.

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  24. How totally profound!!!
    Dennis & I were having a really hard time with this also. I actually just got him out of bed so I could read this to him. WE thank you for putting into words exactly what we needed to hear.
    It's like your post said the other day "who's blog is this anyways".
    Thanks for being the vehicle through which God speaks to us and others.
    Nancy

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  25. I am very thankful these words were well recieved.
    I didn't want to act bossy.
    Like I'm telling you how to act.
    So I thank God, they came out right.

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  26. This is something that I think about a lot, and that I too find difficult. I do believe in miracles but yes, what about all of the times when that miracle didn't happen like we would have wanted it to? Your words are a very good reminder...sensitivity, depending on God. Thank you.

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  27. Anonymous2:11 AM

    We must remember James' words. "My brethren, count it all joy WHEN you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have it's perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 2-4 (emphasis mine)

    We will face trials and sometimes He supernaturally protects. He uses all of this to make us more like Him. To grow in Him. It's hard to have joy in times like these, we must choose joy. Also, we mustn't confuse joy with happiness.

    Douglas is wise.

    We should be sensitive. I agree, wholeheartedly.

    Love,
    Kristi in LV

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    1. Anonymous2:19 AM

      "I didn't want to act bossy.
      Like I'm telling you how to act."

      I was hoping my comment would not be perceived as bossy, too.

      Kristi in LV

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    2. The verse from James is a prickly one sometimes to read. But of course it's true, it's in the scripture! And a very timely reminder, for sure.

      In light of those words in James, I like to remind myself of what Jesus said when he left, about how he's with us always, til the end. Also the reminder in another passage to cast all our cares on him, because he cares for us.

      bottom line: I'm so thankful for my Bible :-)

      God bless you Kristi!

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  28. This is a powerful post.

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  29. This is so very true, and I'm glad you said it. I am not a person of faith, but I have always wondered why a person who does believe would insinuate that they remained safe because God was looking out for them as children and other innocent people lose their lives, their health, their security, etc... It makes no sense to me. Good post.

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  30. Donna, do you watch the Big C on Showtime? The last episode aired this week. Such a good/funny/shocking/sometimes vulgar show, but the last episode and matters of faith were poignant and emotional. You should watch the series if you ever are inclined and have the chance. I love Laura Linney and the entire cast of this show now.

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  31. I feel the same as Andrea. Hard to balance being thankful, and crediting God with great things, when you see others who are just as faithful who don't receive the same blessings. I agree that "insensitive" is a good way to describe the way people behave sometimes. "Unthinkingly insensitive", perhaps, but it can come across as insensitive, regardless.

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