Then What?

It is not a question whether hardship, disappointment or the unexplained will happen to those who love Jesus Christ. He told us that we would not be able to escape life. It’s not if, but when, and how (John 16:33).

Bad things happen to good people. Good leaders experience deep processing. The Church often is not safe place. And those who love God have no guarantees that even the best of their efforts will turn to the good or right.

The real question is more when these hardships occur… what happens after it is all over? When the dust settles and the comforters go home. Can and will life go on? Will we just try to cope and survive, will we plateau and arrest in our development, or will we live on?

Maybe its because Robin and I love being parents and grandparents, and are more sensitive to these issues, or maybe its our life stage,  but currently …

We are watching friends walk through a tragic accident that has changed the life of their daughter, and their lives forever.

We are walking with friends who have had to live through the horror of the unexplainable loss of a son.

Last night I had dinner with yet another leader who still trying to live on after losing a son in a unexplained car crash eight years ago.

Its all around all of us.

Along with these, are are the many of us who have experienced leaders who have changed, received wounds from the Godly, and face the pain of those who we love not knowing or living for Christ.  It’s sometimes feels like it is all too much.

Often just surviving the crucible of the initial pain of the moment is enough, but what will life looks like after these days move past the painful moment… that often is the bigger question.

Watch Jake’s story and wonder out loud with me what his story can say to all of our stories.

Living On!

After watching, Jake reminded me (and I think all of us) that somehow life was meant to be lived on… even after the unexplainable and the pain. And yes… there are mysteries with our God. Asking the “why” often is greeted with silence. We serve a God of the revealed, and the unrevealed. It will always be that way.

Jake also gave me eyes to to see into the pain that shows in the eyes of my friends. Light and life shows through the cracks in faith that moments like these create in all of us. Christ-followers and leaders alike will face moments of deep processing. It’s been said that all people who follow Christ, and make a difference in this life, walk with a limp.

If Christianity is going to be lived, it must be lived out as it seeks to be lived on.

If our faith is to be an authentic faith, as opposed to a “perfect faith” then there must be the wrestling not only with painful moments, but with all the moments of life. And there also must be the times and the challenges of finding how to live life and faith, after the pain.

I hurt when I watch from the sidelines as my friends (and those I coach) try to find life after the pain. I teach others that negative processing shapes character. It’s true! But it is easier to instruct others that truth, than to see it in the tears of  friends, or when our lives are cornered by life, and forced to confront the fact that we believe… but Lord help our unbelief.

To all our friends who face this part of life right now…

To those who are trying to work out life beyond the pain…

To all who been hurt by Christian leaders, who have been overlooked by the ambitious,  who have been treated unjustly again, and who are facing the unexplained…

We together applaud the courage it takes to not only cope with what life has dealt… but also the battle to continue to live on, after the immediate begins to see other days.

And from my vantage point, I want you to know that questions like…

“Will I/we still trust in Christ in the days ahead?”

“Will I/we still risk life and step out again to live by faith?”

“Will I/we make it when the comforters have all left?”

And… “Can I/we really do life, after life has dealt a blow?”

These are questions DO NOT lack of faith. Those questions(I believe) are the questions by people of faith!

And as I/we listen into your pain, it never grows old to hear talk about your efforts… your work… you fight to work your way through life, to get to life.

Questions like these are courageous… they must be ask in order to not be overcome by the challenges of “living on!”

How will we each live on… when our these moments come into our lives? Jake found a way to live… and to live on… even with purpose. It was ability to let God be God, and his faith. I believe we can too!

© Terry Walling 2014