Where do you go when you’re hurting?
Let’s say it’s been a terrible day at the office. You come home and go – where? To the refrigerator for comfort food like ice cream? To the phone to vent with your most trusted friend? Do you seek escape in novels or movies or video games or pornography? Where do you look for emotional rescue?
The Bible tells us that God is our refuge and strength, our help in times of trouble – so much so that we will not fear though the mountains fall into the heart of the sea (Psalm 46:1-2). That strikes me as a good place to run. But it’s so easy to forget, so easy for us to run in other directions. Where we go says a lot about who we are. The “high ground” we seek reveals the geography of our values.
When I was interviewed for my current ministerial position, the elders of the church asked me various questions. One seemed particularly important to them: Tell us about your sufferings and hardships.
I thought about it and came up with a challenge or two I’d faced, but had to admit I’d never really suffered. One of the elders was concerned about that response. I thought, What am I supposed to do? Go lose a loved one?
Since he kept pushing the issue, he finally explained, “You don’t know who people really are until they’ve suffered.”
A few weeks later, I came home from work and went upstairs to awaken Morgan from her nap. She was two at the time. I saw that her five-foot-tall pine dresser had fallen over, and then I realized she was under it. My heart almost stopped. I frantically moved the furniture and saw that my daughter was black and blue.
We rushed her to the hospital, and there was a flurry of tests and x-rays. Nothing was broken. She was breathing but unresponsive. Nerve damage was likely. I remember sitting in the dark hospital hall as they took her in for the initial x-rays. I was on the floor with my back against the wall, crying and praying. I began to sing, “Our God Is an Awesome God.”
A week later, though my daughter was awake, she was unable to walk. Her left leg just wouldn’t move. I kept praying, clinging to God, and as time went on, she improved. She’s fine these days, but I realized along the way that the elder had been right. I needed to learn something about myself, see how things would be between God and me when life got hard.
I discovered he would be my sanctuary even if my deepest fears were realized.
Watch Kyle Idleman this Thursday on LIFE TODAY. Excerpted from Gods at War: Defeating the Idols That Battle for Your Heart by Kyle Idleman. Copyright ©2013 by Kyle Idleman. Published by Zondervan. Used by permission