Tag Archives: hardship

The Jonah Syndrome

I’ll never forget a minister who came to work at our church when I was younger. They felt that God had called them to our town and our church. Not long after they had uprooted their family from their hometown and moved to ours, things started to go wrong. Their car broke down, the AC in the house went out, etc. It seemed that for a year nothing went right and everything was against them. They concluded that they missed God and weren’t supposed to be there. They resigned and moved back to where they lived before.

I remember talking to them about it, and decided to label it Jonah Syndrome. They believed if bad things were happening, they must have missed God or disobeyed Him. My response was that bad things happen, and that it could be an attack to try to make them ineffective at what God had called them to do. To this day, I believe they didn’t think that bad things happen to people who are in the will of God. Unfortunately, there are a lot of us who believe that. The truth is that we need to get rid of the Jonah Syndrome.

All of the early disciples, and most of the Early Church, suffered hardships. Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, left for dead and had disagreements with the leadership of the Church. Bad things happened to him constantly in the New Testament. He even had one nagging problem that he said was a “thorn in his flesh”. He asked God to resolve and remove the problem, but God didn’t. Instead, in 2 Corinthians 12, He replied to Paul, “My grace is sufficient” (AMP).

I like how Psalm 34:19 says, “Good people suffer many troubles, but the Lord saves them from them all” (GNT). You and I are going to go through suffering and have our own thorns in the flesh. It doesn’t mean we are not in God’s will, it means that we need to learn to trust His grace. Jonah was running from his calling. That’s why he suffered. If you’re trying to do what God called you to and you’re running into troubles, ask God for His grace to help you endure. It could be that you’re on the edge of a breakthrough and the enemy is trying to stop you. Above all, seek God’s wisdom in the matter and trust His answer.

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Restoration From The Depths (Video)

“You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭71:20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

If you’re having trouble viewing this video, click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

You Are Not Out Of The Fight

20140127-063531.jpg

Last night I got to watch “Lone Survivor”. It was a moving experience like I haven’t had in a movie in a long time. When the movie was over, everyone just sat in their seats in silence. You could hear the sniffles from people crying. No one said a word as they exited. It was a very humbling thing to experience that movie. The mental and physical toughness that it took to survive was incredible. Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor, left me with one phrase from the movie: You are not out of the fight.

I think that’s something each of us can adopt. We are each faced with hardships in our lives. Some are physical, some are mental and some are relational. We reach our breaking point because of our situation. We get pushed to our limits and feel like we can’t go on. We question if we really should, if it’s even worth it. Our faith falls through our hands like sand and we wonder where God is in our problems. We cling to what little hope we can find to survive the next go around. Just when we think we’re free, we start getting hammered again.

If you are breathing, you are not out of the fight. You have the ability to survive. God placed in you a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. You’ll need all three to make sure you are not out of the fight. You need power to stand when that’s all you can do. You need power to push forward when everything in life is trying to pull you backwards. God’s strength is made perfect in your weakness. When you realize you can’t do this on your own, His power, His strength will come in to help you make it.

You need love to give you a reason to live. There are things left in this life for you to experience. There is a new life out there waiting for you and it will only happen if you make it through. Going through hard times helps us to know what’s important in life. All the fluff, the temporary things and the things that don’t matter seem to disappear when hard times come. When all the things that don’t really matter in life are gone, you’re left with those who love you and you can start fresh with things that matter.

Finally, you need a sound mind to stay in the fight. Mental toughness and the will to survive are required. You must win the battle of the mind. That’s why God gives you a sound mind. Control the thoughts that come in and want to talk you into giving in. Bring every thought captive. Put God’s Word in so you have something to meditate on rather than everything that’s going on. If you look at the battle with your own eyes and mind, you’ll give up. If you look at it with the sound mind God gives, you’ll never be out of the fight.

On a side note, I’d like to say, “Thank you” to each of you who have served, are serving or have family in the military. I know thank you will never be enough, but it carries deep weight.

If you’d like to check out the review my friend Wade Bearden wrote on “Lone Survivor” for “Christianity Today”, click here.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

When I Look at a Penny

20130701-081958.jpg

I never want to get to the point in my life that I’m too good or have too much that I won’t bend down to pick up a penny. I especially make sure that I pick them up when I’m going through a difficult time. There’s a lot to learn from a penny when you stop and look at it, but most of us toss them aside as worthless. When I look at a penny, I see things in it that help me through tough times.

One of the first things I recognize in a penny is that it costs more to make a penny than it’s worth. The government keeps producing them because they are an integral part of our monetary system in giving back exact change. There are times in my life when I don’t think I’m worth much. When I think of the cross and the price that was paid for me, I realize that it cost more to save me than I’m worth. I then realize that God sees me as worth it and as an integral part of His plan.

I also see on the penny the words “In God We Trust”. Those words are words of comfort in difficult times. They remind me where I need to place my trust when things are too hard to handle on my own. I try to face each trial in my own strength to prove to God that I can handle it. In reality, I feel the trials and tests are there not to test my strength, but my reliance on Him. In difficult times, I can trust in God.

The president that is on the front of the penny is Abraham Lincoln. There’s probably not another president who went through something as difficult as leading a nation divided by civil war. He relied on God to help him navigate that difficult period. One of the quotes I heard that was attributed to him was, “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.” He knew that God’s plan was more important than anything. I can learn a lot from that.

Another thing that stands out to me on the penny is the date. One of the things I like to do when I see the date on a penny is to think back and remember one thing that God did for me that year. When I recount the blessings of what God has done in my past, it gives me hope and strength that He’ll do it again. God has been faithful in my life. I just need to take the time to remember it. When I do that, my confidence in Him is bolstered and I know with Him I can face whatever comes my way.

I know there’s a lot more on a penny than what I mentioned here. You may not have looked at a penny the way I do. I see a lot of value in it beyond what it’s worth because of what it reminds me of. When God looks at you, He sees the same thing. He sees value beyond what you think you’re worth. He sees someone worth dying for. He sees someone worth spending eternity with. He sees what no one else sees, smiles and picks you up when others have discarded you. That’s what I see when I look at a penny. What do you see?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized