This morning I was reading 2 Corinthians 7:8-12. It made me think about what Christians are supposed to do with distress. Some decide to live in denial and say that “real” Christians don’t have distress. Others choose to wallow in it, forgetting who they are in Christ. Yet, there is a middle ground that can learn to walk through the distress that live brings us and come out on the other side, closer to God.
Let’s face it – ALL of us have distress in our lives. Before my recent change of ministry, the last year and a half had been filled with all kinds of distress for me and Amy. There were all kinds of things going on that majority of people knew nothing about. And without getting into the details, I was about ready to walk away from ministry for good. But then in that most desperate time of distress, I found myself in a place with the Lord that I had not previously been. It was in that place with the Lord that I realized who I truly was in Him. I resolved that the enemy wouldn’t get an inch of ground from these trials, but rather, somehow it would draw me closer to God. You see, I couldn’t control the actions of those around me, but I could control how I reacted to those things. I felt the Lord pull me in and say, “It’s safe over here, come with me…”
So, do I like going through distressful times? Of course not! But I would say this, I don’t want to be the man I was before this distress brought me closer to my Lord. Although I don’t pretend to understand it perfectly or walk it out with impunity, I do believe I am beginning to understand what James meant when he said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”