How to Handle Stinky Issues

Let’s just keep it real…sometimes life stinks.  Things go wrong.  Prayers go unanswered.  Troubles abound.  Chaos surrounds.  People hurt and disappoint us.

Sometimes these stinky seasons last a long time.  Weeks, months or even years.  And while we know that God is with us, that we can trust Him through it all, it doesn’t necessarily make navigating these difficult times any easier.

I don’t have any pat answers to give to those who are going through stinky times.  I can’t tell you it will all work out in the end—because let’s face it, sometimes that doesn’t happen.  I won’t tell you to have bigger faith because the reality is that sometimes we’re barely hanging on.

I know this probably sounds very discouraging.  So what can I tell you that will help?  You may not like what I have to say.  In fact, it could quite possibly stir up angry thoughts—because after all, I certainly don’t know the depth of your pain, the sorrow you carry or the questions that rage through your mind.

You may not be in a place where you’re ready to receive this and I get that.  I’ve been there myself.  But even if this isn’t the time or place to grab hold of what I have to share…please, at least be willing to tuck it away.  Save it for another time.

While it’s not an answer to stinky seasons that we go through, a grateful heart can certainly start you on the right path.  It’s hard to make sense of this, I know.  Grateful for death?  Grateful for financial ruin?  Grateful for a wayward child?  Grateful for a circumstance that has kept you in fear?  It doesn’t make sense.  It doesn’t even sound right—I get that.

I’m not asking you to be grateful for the circumstances you’re facing…for the person who has hurt you…for the prayers that seem to bounce off heaven’s walls.   But consider how you might be grateful for the fact that these stinky things lead you to greater dependence upon God.

On the surface that may not sound like much.  It’s not a life shattering nugget that I’m offering.  And it may even leave you feeling a bit disappointed.  Yet the implications of this run deeper than you might think.

Greater dependence upon God means less dependence upon self and this world.  This is vital if we want to have a healthy, growing relationship with Him.  If we don’t recognize our need for Him, we’re depleted of the resources He offers—hope, grace, love, and strength, just to name a few.  Think about it.  When is the last time you were able to stir up some hope?  To create grace?  To love when it wasn’t reciprocated?  To gain strength when heavy burdened?

God provides those things.  And even if we do manage to stir up some hope, grace, love or strength—it won’t last long.  But His hope…His grace…His love…His strength is everlasting.

We may not be able to thank God for our stinky issues.  But we can thank Him that as a result, we’re learning greater dependence upon Him. We can thank Him that even when life seems out of control, we know that He has it in the palm of His hand.  And we can thank Him that ultimately, He has our best in mind.

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