Sometimes, Life Stinks.

Sometimes, life just plain stinks.

Last week, my orthopedic surgeon informed me that I need a total hip replacement.

Yesterday, I lost my job.

My immediate reaction to both issues was to get angry, then depressed. And honestly, I’m still more than a little upset.

How should I, as a follower of Jesus Christ, respond when bad stuff happens?

First, it’s important to understand why evil exists.

God created this world sinless and perfect. There was no death, no illness, no unemployment, and no sin. There was no anger, no depression, and no crap to deal with. It was a perfect world.

Until Adam sinned.

17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. (Romans 5:12-15)

All of the sin, death, illness, anger, natural disasters, depression, other problems, and other evils are a direct consequence of Adam’s sin. Adam’s sin changed the perfect world that God designed, and polluted it.

However, we can’t blame it all on Adam. Our sin has added to the problem.

Sometimes, bad stuff happens as a direct result of our own sin. We make bad choices that lead to bad consequences.

But sometimes, bad stuff happens, and it has nothing to do with anything we personally did; it’s a result of the sin in the world. It can be the result of demonic activity, and it can also be the result of God’s judgement for the sin of society. Evil can have different causes, but those causes all trace back to the same root cause – sin.

In any case, how should followers of Jesus Christ handle the crap that life serves us?

For me, the key is to realize the sufferings of this life are temporary. The perfection God planned for the human race will be realized in eternity.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. (Revelation 22:3)

Life on this earth is but the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of eternity. The junk we live through in this life is only temporary. For followers of Jesus Christ, the current life is the worst it will ever be; for unbelievers, unfortunately, this life is the best it will ever be.

The other thing is that, even though we must face a lot of pain and suffering in this world, as a Christian, I have the Holy Spirit living inside me to comfort, guide, and direct me through the junk of life.

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 
As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

While I’m still hurt, depressed, and scared about both my hip and my job situation, I am holding on to the promises God has given me in His word. God never promised to keep His followers from the difficulties of life, but rather promised to walk with us through the difficulties. And, while I know I’ll struggle during the next days (or weeks, or months, depending on when I find another job and/or have my surgery), I know that God is with me through the process, and that He is in control of the situation.

Life’s “Escape Button”

EscOn computer keyboards, the Esc (or Escape) key is traditionally used to initiate an escape sequence.

Many people have wished that life had an “escape button” that we could push to temporarily get away from the difficulties we all face.  A way to escape from the pressures, temptations, responsibilities, and suffering.

Although we can’t just push a button to escape from the world for a while, for the Christian, there is escape through our relationship with God.

King David wrote in Psalm 71:

1 In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.

David tells us that our escape comes only by trusting the Lord.  It is not in our own power that we can escape from the pressures and problems in this life.  We are fallen sinners trapped in a cursed, fallen world.  It is only in the power of the holy, omnipotent God that escape is possible, and it is only by placing our faith and trust in Him that we can take refuge.

The apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 10:

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

When we try to stand on our own against temptation and sin, we are guaranteed to fall.  Because we are all sinners, we do not have the capacity to stand against temptation.  No matter how hard we try, our best works are certain to fall short.  It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that anyone can escape temptation and overcome sin.  What we cannot do, God does, when we place our faith and trust in God through Jesus Christ.  God does not promise that the problems will go away, but rather, that we can overcome them through Him.

Personal Log, 02/09/2012

I’m home from work today because of an ingrown toenail on the big toe on my right foot.  Yesterday, it took me 20 minutes to get my shoe on, and the toe was in agony most of the day.  Especially after I accidentally kicked a big metal toolbox.  I told my coworkers that I needed a toe-truck.

Back in September or October, I stubbed my toe, and cracked the toenail.  Part of the toenail fell off.  Ever since, I’ve been digging, filing, cutting, and clipping, trying to remove the nasty sharp spur on the left edge of the toenail

It hasn’t worked.

Did you know that Orajel™ works on sore toes, not just teeth and gums?  Dab a bit of Orajel™ right on the sore spot, and a few minutes later, you can poke it with minimal pain.

This morning, I decided it wasn’t worth the agony of trying to get a shoe over my enlarged toe, and then standing and walking on it all day, so I took a sick day, and have been sitting in my recliner with my foot up most of the day.  I go to the podiatrist tomorrow morning, so he can yank it out.  I’m not sure I’ve ever looked forward to having part of a toenail yanked out before, but I can’t wait to get it over with.

It’s been a fun few days.

_______________________________

Addendum, 2/10/2012

The doctor yanked out the whole left side of the toenail this morning.  It’s now wrapped up in gauze the size of a golf ball.  I’ve got a shoe on my left foot, and a sandal on my right, because there’s no way to cram the toe in a normal shoe.  And, since the Novocain wore off, it hurts worse than before.  So, I’m sitting with my feet up, missing another day of work, surfing the Web, and working on my blog.