Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bitter or Better?

I recently read this quote:

"In His own world He is content

to play a losing game."

-Way of Faith

I'm pondering this deep thought because of the counseling book, Shattered Dreams, by Dr. Larry Crabb--I've read it and am presently studying week six of the workbook. I have learned God's reasons why this mysterious quote is true.

The message of Shattered Dreams is this: Learn how to look through life's tragedies and see the lavish blessings God has for you. In this screwed up world our dreams will shatter. Actually Jesus guarantees shattered dreams when he says, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

The author wrote: "In this world, the dream of feeling as good as we want to feel will shatter. . . Shattered dreams will create the opportunity for God to work more deeply than ever before, to further weaken our grasp on our empty selves. They will also create the opportunity for bitterness and its children, defeat and immorality to develop. Bitterness carries us farther from the shore, into dark nights that never had to be. Brokenness on the other hand, allows us to relax in the arms that will bring us to shore, where a warm fire is burning and food has been prepared."

Through dealing with family tragedy of the loss of my brother and the aftermath of heartache that lessens, but never quite goes away, I've done it both ways--bitterness and brokenness. Bitterness makes me ill, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But brokenness has led me to healing. In God's mysterious, powerful ways, he uses suffering to convince us we are safe to let go and surrender completely in his arms so he can deliver us safely to shore. For some reason, us proud humans don't ever get what it means to surrender without suffering.

What about you? Have difficult, hurtful situations made you bitter or better? In what ways has suffering made you bitter? In what ways have you experienced the healing that comes from brokenness and become better?

Dear Lord Jesus,

You are content to play a losing game because you know the end of the story, which is eternal life beyond our wildest imagination. Your story includes free will which leaves us with choices. We can fight for our right to feel good and for things to be right while living here (and be miserable) or we can allow your Holy Spirit to use the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for YOU, to help us begin dreaming the highest dream. A dream of a vibrant, growing, joyful relationship with you despite any circumstances, bad or good. For we know and believe that in all things, You, God work for the good of those who love you, who have been called according to your purpose (Romans 8:28). In your precious name we pray. Amen.

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