My wife Karen and I have been married for 40 years this year. We’ve experienced a lot in all that time. But for the past 16 years we’ve experienced a crisis (tragedy) almost every year. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true. From our son being diagnosed with cancer, to a horrible death of my mother to breast cancer, death of Karen’s grandmother, her father and favorite aunt, 4 hospitalizations for kidney stones, suicide of a niece and a cousin, death of my youngest brother, massive stroke of another brother, son’s open heart surgery, Karen being diagnosed with Lyme’s disease, traumatic job transition, clinical depression, being without a home for 8 months, massive heart attack, open heart surgery just to name a few.
When people ask me these days, “how are you doing”, my patent response is, “well right now I’m between crisis”. And that is so true. If you’re not in crisis then you’re between crisis because the next disappointment or death or illness will come. It’s the way life is. I’d like to tell you it’s not so, but I’d be lying to you. Life is not a bed of roses.
A while back I was preaching at a church and an elderly man came up to me and said that he has never had those kinds of things happen ever in his lifetime. I said, “I’m so sorry about that sir”. He reacted surprised. I explained to him that I have found that those are the times when we feel and see God’s presence the most – when our faith is tested the most – when we draw closer to Him the most. I told him that I hope he would experience a time like that at least once before he left this earth so he too could be blessed by the goodness that comes out of a storm. He stared at me and slowly backed away. I think he thought I may have just cursed him. I was pretty serious though. Not that I would wish bad things upon people, but I know from personal experience and the hundreds of testimonies from others that it’s in the valleys of life when we see, feel, and hear God the most – it’s when life brings us to our knees that we are forced to look up and reach out to God and find He is actually right beside us. I know because I’ve been there.
What I’ve come to realize in my life is that it’s those times of trials when I am being blessed the most. When one comes to the point in their life where they do not fear the next challenge or disappointment or hurt or pain or loss and look forward to the blessings that will result from it all, you’re life changes forever.
I have health issues that have cropped up on me recently. The uncertainty can wear on you. It’s hard not to worry about what it could all lead to. But I have to confess that (because of my many experiences of the past) I honestly do not fear the future. In fact, I look forward to the blessings that will most certainly come and (even more so) I look forward to being drawn even closer to my Lord because of it.
My hope and prayer for you is that you will seek the blessings in the midst of your storms in life and find the gift of peace that comes from it. The blessings are always there. Look for them. It will make your life’s journey much more tolerable when those times come – and they will. Peace be with you my friends!
Founder and Director
I’VE BEEN THERE Ministries