I wasn’t able to go to Sunday School yesterday so I decided to watch a sermon from North Valley Baptist Church, where my brother-in-law attends. http://www.nvbc.org/ By clicking on services you can watch old services or even watch it live stream – but don’t forget they are in CA! I watched the sermon from 12/17/06 Sunday Morning service preached by Pastor Trieber called “Dealing with Adversity”. It was just what I needed to hear at he moment. I am going to put the notes I took in here but if you are in need of hearing the same thing (from someone who isn’t a close relative or friend as was the case with me!) I implore you to watch it. Most of what I am adding are the thoughts I had when listening the main point were the Pastor’s though. I didn’t plan for this to be long but as I type- it IS sorry. If you can’t read it all read the main points and just apply it to your life instead of reading how all it impacted me.
I. Source of adversity
a. God – God allows adversity for His glory. This struck me – I know it is true but sometimes I wonder if there isn’t a better way for God to get glory. I know doesn’t make sense to you – sounds like I am a heathen – but when you are in the midst of the hardest trial of your life it is how you feel, at least I do sometimes. Then he said something about God allows it to help others because when I don’t quite it encourages others. I then saw – there is NO other way for someone else to be encouraged other than by the experience of one Christian continuing on in the midst of a trial. Specific trails are the best. Let me explain that – I know personally if someone tells me they know what I am going thru right now and then their story is “my child always got colds and caughs then they were young.” (that was an exgaeration and not with anyone in particular in mind) I am very put off. Dillon isn’t struggling with colds, this is serious, life-long, life-consuming, minute-by-minute struggle. Although I do know I am not in the worse possible situation with my child as I could be, it certainly isn’t a reoccurring cold. I know that the only people I have found true encouragement in are the ones who have gone through life-treating, long lasting, no end in sight in this world, situations with their child. God IS going to get glory though all the adversity I am facing right now if I let Him, but I also may be the only source of human encouragement to someone else when they are in a similar situation. Will I be an encouragement as an example to follow or will I be an encouragement as an example of “don’t let this turn you into her.”? I don’t remember where this was brought out in the message but it was such a blessing to me. I have been told so many times “God is in control” “God won’t give you more than you can handle”, and “all things work together for good”. I know people mean well, but when you hear it, literally, hundreds of times it loses its meaning. People say it because they don’t know what else to say. I know those things are true, but they are not a comfort – at least not to me. It sounds like an automated response from a “good Christian”. Pastor Trieber said he has a Pastor friend whose 15 year old son died in a car accident. Three years later his dad still could not see any good from the situation. I am sitting here watching my son’s life and saying to all those who casually answer me “all things work together for good…” How? Where? What good is there in my son’s health being robbed from him by a human mistake? His Pastor friend, however, said “I just can’t see any good from this, I just have to live by faith that God will keep His promise.” You all may be sitting there saying; I could have told you that. However, this goes back to my pervious point, sometimes you really need to hear the obvious answer from someone who had gone through something similar to really get it to sink in and not sound cliché. He may not see the good from his son’s death, but God did use him in my life yesterday to help me to just “live by faith that God will keep His promise to me.”
b. Devil – We all know the story of Job. He was tried above what so many of us are capable of understanding and yet it wasn’t because of sin in his life. So many people think severe adversity in a person’s life must mean that they are living in sin. So far I have only had one friend who honestly asked me if it was possible. I can honestly say, after talking with my husband, I know there are things not right in my life, things need to improve. I cannot say though, that I am willing and openly living in sin to which God would punish me through my son’s health. IF that is the case, I would think the sin would be blatant enough that I would clearly know what God was chastening me for. Therefore, it is a possibility the devil is testing me to see if I will turn against God. I can say this, I know I have failed this test so many times in the last eight months. I have turned against God, for short periods of time. I twist the situation in my head and make it sound good – really good – I have quite the imagination – as to why I can be mad at God. I know He is in control and that nothing can happen to me without His permission – therefore He is doing this to me right? He is letting me hurt, letting my heart break as I look at my son’s disabilities, He is causing me to be discouraged by putting all this on my plate at once. He is causing my son to be sick. I know more than anything in this world that God is the One and Only One who can heal my son. I am hopeless, the doctors are hopeless, I would give anything to heal him and yet I can’t. I know the God that spoke a word and the world was made, who spoke a word and the sea clamed, yet no matter how many times I cry until Him – He hasn’t spoken the word to make Dillon whole again. So God is not helping me right? (Again, if you haven’t faced something like this you may not understand how I could think these things against Almighty God- but I am human and I love my sons. These last eight months have been harder than anything I ever imagined.) I have never stay “mad at God” for long, I can’t even when I am mad I have this annoying feeling in the pit of my stomach that won’t go away saying “You know you can’t be mad at God, you know WHO God is and that is all you need to know.” That little voice only adds to my frustration as I try to be mad at God and even in my attempt know I really shouldn’t be. Maybe the devil is trying my husband and I. Josiah has truly been proven faithful through all of this. I don’t remember a single time when he ever allowed himself to blame God for any of this. I have not been so faithful. I need to remember that it could be Satan standing before God saying “See! I told you she would fail You!” What a horrible thought!!! If I can keep that in mind it will help me to not try to place the blame at God’s feet.
c. Sin – I covered this one already. Sorry I think I got ahead of myself, but I am not going to go back and try to sort it out. :-)
II. Sadness of adversity
a. Some spend their life trying to analyze the adversity in their life. Umm can I say guilty! I don’t even know how many times I have replayed the day of his birth in my mind trying to find the answer, trying – in a weird way- to find where I messed up and caused this. I have tried to figure out the how, where, when, and most importantly the why of this situation. I can’t. If I continue my life will be defined by the adversity in it rather than overcoming it.
b.Some spend their life accusing. Ummm I have to say guilty once again! I have accused God, myself, and now in light of new information the health care professionals. Pastor said some people blame God and yet don’t they realize they are breathing HIS air? Oh how true, I am alive because of Him and yet I blame Him? How foolish am I.
c.Some people spend their life in anxiety. Guilty! Notice something not so good going on in my life here? Fear and frustration are big clues to this. I have been terrified since I found out I was pregnant again. I get frustrated almost daily that Dillon isn’t “normal” and worse yet – that the doctors who are making all the money can’t give me any answers as to what to expect in Dillon’s physical/mental future. I am scared of what the future holds for me as well. Will I have to put my son in a home one day? I will spend the rest of my life till the day I die taking care of my son as though he were still an infant? It is selfish I know. I wanted children young, like my parents did, because they are still young and Lord Willing will have so many years left with their children and grandchildren. Yet my child may always be living completely in my care, never learning to smile or laugh, never learning to sit or walk, never learning to care for himself, never even learning to tell me “I love you Momma”. It is selfish, I know, but it is a great fear of mine that I think about for at least a few second almost every day.
d. Some people spend their life in anger. Normally I would say “This one isn’t me”, but this last couple of days it has been me. I have taken my fears out on my poor husband. I have been yelling at him for not comforting me when all he has been doing is telling me what I needed to hear (a lot of it was practically word for word this message!)
III. Success from adversity
a.Some people have learned to accept their adversity. Don’t view it as our enemy but as our friend. It can be the thing that can bring me closer to God.
b. Some people have learned to adapt to it. Adapt or die. That is the bottom line. I have to learn to adapt to it or I am going die and Dillon could literally die if I refuse to adapt. Not only in the literal sense but I will kill us both if all I can do is complain and look at what he can’t do instead of teaching him to be happy with the way God made him to be.
c. Some people have learned to assist others and ascend up. Paul was stoned so badly everyone thought he was dead and yet the Bible says in Acts that “he rose up” and next thing you know he is off on his way to go preach. I can learn to get up and help other because of my experiences. The old says, “If you fall get back up and keep on going.”
Okay, this was yet another LONG blog. There are so many areas of my life right now that I am experiencing trials in. In fact there doesn’t seem to be any area that isn’t being tried so this message was applicable in ways that most people don’t know and that I certainly didn’t get into. For the purpose of this blog I concentrated it all on Dillon and his situation, but am applying it in more ways. I hope this was a blessing to you and might help you through the hard times in your life.