Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
January 27, 2019
When the bottom falls out
Calamity happens. It may be of your own making. It may be the result of a natural disaster like a tornado. Or your misfortune may have been caused by other people. But whatever the source of your trouble, you must respond to it – unless you decide to throw in the towel.
So here is the question: What is the best way to respond when the bottom falls out of your world? Consider these ideas that have worked for me:
1. React wisely. You are in control of your reactions; you cannot control the actions or reactions of others. Neither despair nor anger will help, so do not lose control. To do so will make matters worse and bring on later the pain of regret.
2. Step back from your trouble. Ask hard questions. Am I responsible for my trouble? If you must admit that it is mostly of your own making, then repent and ask God for forgive you. He understands you better than anyone. Repentance and forgiveness includes forgiving yourself. All of us make mistakes. No one is perfect. Jesus gave us no beatitude that says, “Blessed are those who despise themselves.” Self-despising is self-defeating so refuse the temptation to kick yourself.
3. Take the initiative to make things right with anyone you may have offended. Seek forgiveness. Now and then someone may not forgive you; their reaction is out of your control. But, at least ask for forgiveness. Until you do that you cannot move on with your life. Do it and you are free to move on.
4. If you are angry at someone, be smart enough to put your anger aside. Anger will not make things better. Getting angry about your troubles is stupid; it simply pours more fuel on the fire. Anger leads to the blame game. Blaming others for your misfortune is a waste of time; it is always counter-productive, so flush it.
5. Consider your options carefully then do the right thing, one step at a time. Do what is right for others and what is right for you. Respond with integrity. You will never be embarrassed for choosing the pathway of integrity. React with honor and truthfulness. Do the honorable thing one day at a time. Wake up every morning and resolve to do the right thing.
6. Seek the counsel of good friends. Pain can cloud our vision. Friends can help us see the right road. Test your conclusions with others whose judgment you trust. Good friends will never guide you in the wrong direction.
7. Take time to think through your dilemma but beware of procrastination. Never rush into important decisions but remember that pain often results in inertia. If inertia takes over, take yourself by the nape of the neck and get back in the game. Nothing good results from lethargy. Inaction produces no positive change.
8. Get on your knees and ask the God who loves you to give you the grace to face your trouble squarely. Then get over it and move on. Life is not over as long as you are still breathing. God is more ready to help you than you ever dreamed. So let Him help you! Believe that God’s plans for you are good. Choose to love God more than anything else in the world and things and people will begin to fall in place in your life.
9. Get up every day believing that the God who guides the sun and the moon is willing to guide you into a new life of meaning, joy and peace. He can do it. He will do it – if you ask Him. When doubt raises its ugly head, sing an old song that will chase your doubt away. This is a good one: “Guide me, O thou great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak, but thou art mighty; hold me with thy powerful hand. Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more; feed me till I want no more.” That works for me!
10. Never give up. Never give up on God. Never give up on the wisdom of doing the right thing day by day, again and again. Never give up on the future. Never give up on your potential. Never give up on the Lord’s power to help you overcome!
You are not the first person who had to start over. Wounded people have made new beginnings since the world began. Stop babbling and take charge of your life. Never doubt that God will use the pain and trouble of this world to prepare you, and the rest of us, for something better. So when the bottom falls out, grab your tools and build a new bottom! + + +