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Monday, September 23, 2013

The JOY of Losing it All.

There’s a song we occasionally sing at my church. When I first heard it, it irritated me more than I care to admit.

I’ll share part of it. See if you relate to these words, or if you’re like me, and your first thought is that the writer is either a LIAR or has never walked through real fire.

I've lost some good friends along life's way
Some loved ones departed in Heaven to stay
But thank God I didn't lose everything…
I never lost my hope,
I never lost my joy
I never lost my faith
But most of all
I never lost my praise

Right after my dad died, I lost my JOY, PRAISE, HOPE, and almost my FAITH. I lost all this even though BEFORE he passed, God told me it was going to happen.

“Jesus doesn’t lead you into theological crisis until He’s first given you His voice.” Sorge ch 2

God’s VOICE carried me through the worst months of my life with peace and assurance that could only come from Him.

However, as grief closed in, I began losing all the above mentioned items one by one.

It began with my JOY. 

I lost ALL joy. With it, went my ability to PRAISE God through the pain. 

Next, my HOPE disappeared. 

I found myself in despair with no way out. 

The walls were closing in.

I felt completely alone.

I couldn't hear the VOICE of God anymore. Where was He?
My world was upside down and it was God’s fault.

Yes, He had warned me He was going to take my dad, but did He have to allow such suffering before He took a saint home? Did He have to allow me to feel so isolated from loved ones? Did He have to continue to make my life a living hell? Couldn’t He ease up just a little? What more did He want from me?

These questions led me down a dangerous path…was God even real? Or had I been trusting in “RELIGION”? 

My FAITH was crashing, my new marriage crumbling, and my career was at a cross roads. 

This was the worst fire I'd ever experienced and as close as I’ve ever come to relating to Job.

Only Job was a righteous man (Job 1:1) and I was far from it. I’ll be honest,  my walk with God was on the downward slope even before my dad’s death. God didn’t rank high in my life…He knew it and I knew it. Heck, everyone knew it.

Oct 1st it will be five years since my dad went Home. In that time, a great deal has changed in my life (and marriage) and I can honestly say my father’s death was the pivotal point. 

“But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
Job 23:10 NIV

I still don’t completely understand why I went through that fire, but I can say that my faith is stronger. 

“Job had always been a man of faith,
but at the conclusion of his ordeal he had a faith
that was purer and stronger and deeper than anything he
had previously known.”  Sorge pg40

I’ve been asked what I would change about those days if I could…after much prayer (and maturing), I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing.

All the pain. All the doubts. All the fears, frustrations, questions, anger… all the FIRE, was worth the Relationship I now have with my Savior. 

Excuse the pun, but it was hell going through. But the end result is worth far more than gold. It’s changed me. It’s healed me and it’s helped me realize I NEVER want Religion in place of a Relationship with Christ.

Only the fire could produce this. 

I pray the next time I go through a large fire I won’t lose my FAITH, HOPE, JOY, or PRAISE.

 But even if I do loose it for a time, God’s still got me. He’s still big enough to handle anything I throw at Him. And in the end…I’ll come forth as gold (or at least closer to it).

Join the Book Club discussing, “The Fire of Delayed Answers” by Bob Sorge, either by grabbing a book and joining the weekly discussions and/or leaving a comment below. You can read more about this chapter from: Jason, Sarah, Rick, Dusty, Kari, Glynn,  and Joell. Most post on Wed- Sorry for any confusion.

Your turn: Tell me about your fire...can you see God in it?

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