HANDLING LIFE’S DEVASTATING MOMENTS
December 10, 2021, for residents of Kentucky and five other US states, will be a day they remember as multiple tornadoes ploughed through their region leaving behind loss of life and a path of destruction over 250 miles long. The impact was the largest and most devastating in US history. Over 80 people died.
With very little warning, menacing twisters blew through their region. Many people described the noise as “racing freight trains.” They tore through a nursing home with over 90 residents. Demolishing homes. Overturning cars like toys. Flattening business establishments. Uprooting trees. Leveling churches and other structures. Reducing homes and entire communities to a pile of rubble for miles on end.
On December 14 I watched a news report. It focused on a family that had lost everything! I mean everything! The camera took shots of the man in his home that was open to the heavens as the roof and most of the walls had collapsed and disappeared with the winds. “How are you feeling?” the reporter asked him. “Blessed,” he answered. “We’re still alive.” The man then turned and hesitated when he saw his keyboard still standing. He slowly walked over and sat down and began to play. What he played spoke volumes. It was the chorus “Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. There’s just something about that name. Master. Savior. Jesus. Like a fragrance after the rain. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Let all heaven and earth proclaim – kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there’s something about that name.”
You could have knocked me over with a feather – I was touched so deeply. Right in the middle of his complete and unimaginable devastation was a man that realized that Jesus remained the same. He was his one remaining constant! Faithful, merciful, loving, wise, and changeless. The source of his hope for the future. (I Cor. 2:9) And in spite of how his world looked around him – there was a deep settled joy within.
In this world troubles are a part of life. They’re universal. We all face them. James instructs us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (1:3-4) Misfortune and adversities come to all of us in various forms and sizes – frequently in strange packages and in surprising ways. “Get ready,” James is telling us. “This is life in a world under the curse of sin.” However, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
Without a doubt that gentleman sitting at his keyboard knew this! And because he did, he was able to play – “There’s Just Something About that Name” – right in the midst of his mess.
There is a quote circulating that reads, “Choose Joy! Don’t wait for things to get easier, simpler, better. Life will always be complicated. Learn to be happy right now. Otherwise, you’ll run out of time!” God has a purpose for every trial. Only He can turn trials into triumphs and difficulties into discipling moments. Therefore, choose joy!
Be blessed my friend …and God’s very best to you and yours in the new year ahead.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love
Romans 8:31-39; Isaiah 61:1-11; I Peter 1:6-9; Psalm 37:1-6, 18-19, 39