Friday, October 14, 2011

31 Days :: Day 14 ~ Even when the truth hurts?

Do not be anxious about anything . . . whatever is true . . . think on these things. (Philippians 4:6 and 8)

According to the Internet (and let's not even get started as to whether or not the Internet can be considered true) there are many studies that have revealed that approximately 90% of the stuff people worry about never happens.

And while I can't point to the actual study (I tried to find an actual study - as opposed to someone saying "there are studies" - but I didn't have any luck), I think we know they are right.

On a practical, real-life level, we know that the vast majority of what we worry about isn't true.

But what about the 10% that is?

The diagnosis is grim.
The job is gone.
The marriage is over.

What do we do when what is true . . . is awful?

I've been there. I've listened to the nurse practitioner tell me things I did not want to hear. I've sat in the graveyard as my oldest and dearest friend buried her child. I've told people I love goodbye and watched as they slipped through the veil.

Paul knew a thing or thirty about suffering. He was beaten, whipped, stoned, and shipwrecked. And if that wasn't enough, the people he ministered to lied about him, turned on him, humiliated him, and tried to destroy his credibility.

But he wrote these words . . .

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:7 (ESV)

Sandwiched between verses that tell us not to be anxious and to think on truth, is a nugget of hope. Did you catch it?

God's peace will guard your mind.

When the diagnosis is grim, the Truth is that nothing is impossible with God.
When the job is gone, the Truth is that God is the great provider.
When the marriage is over, the Truth is that God works all things together for our good.

There is another Truth. One that we don't like.

The Truth is, God uses our suffering as part of His plan to redeem a lost and dying world.

It's not an entirely satisfying answer, is it? It doesn't take away the pain. It doesn't fix it.

But if we will take everything to Him (v. 6) God's peace will guard our minds (v.7), and a mind guarded by the God of the Universe has the supernatural ability to stay focused on the Truth (v.8).

Even when the truth hurts.