Have you ever felt your life is falling apart, or shattered?
I was stunned, as you may have been, back in March 2011 watching on TV the unfolding drama on the east coast of Japan. Here was a disaster that came without warning—an earthquake and tsunami, the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan. Nearly 27,000 people lost their lives or were listed as missing. It was a terrible event. If you had lived there, how do you start to rebuild your life?
Many stories have emerged of families torn apart. A man aged 36 named Kanno searched for his father who had been washed out to sea. His body was never recovered. His mother was taken to the morgue, but the authorities had the wrong body. Can you imagine trying to cope with that? A fireman in one town helping in rescue and relief lost his father, two children, his mother and his wife. He is the only one left in the family. Unbelievable suffering. And that happened in 2011.
When Hopelessness becomes your Existence
Of course, many people face pressure, problems, and pain as a part of their everyday existence. Normally people face the stress of life and just keep ploughing through, day after day. Occasionally the pressure gets to them and they crack, crumble, and crash. They’re left hurting and hopeless. For many, hopelessness has become their existence. It’s at this point that we must strive to discover how the pressure of life can help us find hope instead of despair. Everyone has to deal with a crisis at some point—maybe a lost job, a failed marriage, the death of someone close to you, or a loss in your business.
Larry Crabb, in his book Shattered Dreams, says:
Our shattered dreams are never random. They are always a piece in a larger puzzle, a chapter in a larger story. Pain is a tragedy. But it’s never only a tragedy. For the Christian, it’s always a necessary mile on the long journey to joy. The suffering caused by shattered dreams must not be thought of as something to relieve if we can or endure if we must. It’s an opportunity to be embraced, a chance to discover our desire for the highest blessing God wants to give us, an encounter with himself.
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.” (1 Corinthians 13:12a – NLT)
Have you ever stopped and asked:
- What is God teaching me through this negative experience?
- Is there a higher reason for all this horrible stuff I’m going through?
The Apostle Paul had a tremendous outlook on life. Many of his plans were shattered and destroyed, and eventually he was killed in Rome for his faith. But he expressed it for us in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known”.
I like The Voice translation for this same verse, “For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God.”