I had the privilege of speaking at the Caring Ministries conference on Saturday with folks who have been through the dark road of loss – either through separation and divorce or in my case, the pain of bereavement and grief. I took 2 sessions – in the latter we had a very profitable Q and A where I was very open about my own journey through loss. In the former, I shared 10 things you learn from tough times. These were lessons that the Lord taught me through the crucible of experience.
Here’s a quick summary
1. God is God and He can do what he likes
He neither owes us nor offers us full explanations for his actions. Why should he? He is God!!
2. Life is Preparation for Eternity
We are only here for a short time and eternity matters far more than what happens in our three score years and ten. Just make sure your actions, habits and decisions down here prepare you for Immanuel’s land
3. We are more Sinful than we ever Thought.
Its easy to excuse our sin – so easy. We can even make tough experiences a reason for going wrong. Romans 3 describes our nature in all its horrible state. Jeremiah 17 v9 reminds us that our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked!
4. The Gospel is our Only Hope
We cannot find redemption in people, relationships or circumstances - only in Christ. Our spouse or parents or children cannot be our Saviour. Jesus is our only Saviour. We live in a broken and fallen world. Bad things happen. That's why we need a Saviour.
5. Satan really Hates God’s People
Don’t expect him to go easy on you because times are tough. He hates you and will do anything to cause trouble he is a thief who comes to steal and destroy. He becomes even more real in difficult times.
6. Crying is Good but don’t Cry for ever
At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus wept (John 11 v35). Hence crying must be good. But you should not get stuck, move on into a bright new future. If you crawl under the duvet and turn off the phone, eventually you will have to emerge into the light. Better do that sooner rather than later because time is short.
7. Acceptance is the Key to Healing
We cannot change the past. That’s a fact. Time only flows in one direction. So many cannot or will not accept that what has happened, has happened. But acceptance sets you free and allows you to grow. This key is vital.
8. Avoid Bitterness and Live with no Regrets
Hebrews 12 v15 is a solemn warning to us of the damage that bitterness can cause. Don’t allow this root to grow. Start living now with eternity in view. How will you regard your present thoughts/feelings when you look back on them?
9. You can only Practice in the Darkness what you Learn in the Light
Got that? Dark times will come. Those are not the times to learn to pray, have devotions or get intimate with God. When you are in the light is the time for that. Learn good lessons in good times – store them up and then make withdrawals in times of darkness
10. Small Actions have Big Consequences
Ever hear the saying – 'Big doors swing on small hinges'? It’s true. The smallest things that you do in tough times and the smallest things others do for you have big consequences. So be careful about everything.
Every one of those life lessons is worth a chapter on its own. Think about them!!