Reality Check: do I still trust God when life is tough?

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:5-7

Generally – and I say this as much to keep myself honest as anything – my life experience has been one where it is easy to be grateful.

I grew up in a loving home; I have always had enough; I am blessed with a generous share of gifts and abilities; I was given access to a first-rate education; I am happily married to a beautiful, engaging, and intelligent woman who loves me too; our children are exceptional, and so are their own families; I have always enjoyed purposeful and creative work; we have served three positive, vibrant, “successful” churches; we live in an idyllic community; we makes ends meet; my dog thinks I hang the moon (I could go on)….

Point being I am a great example of an “it’s easy for you to say” situation. Sure I wake up every morning deeply aware of my blessings and grateful. Why wouldn’t I?

When things don’t go well:

So I find myself honestly challenged when things don’t necessarily go so well. Maybe I am overwhelmed by some of my extended responsibilities? Maybe there are challenges with my work – or with Rebekah’s? Maybe a huge expense, or two, places some stress on the finances? Maybe we worry sometimes about our children? Maybe I have to face some long-repressed fear like, say, the dentist…?

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

– looking for some calm and assurance

Did I say dentist? Yes, I guess I did. I am, I have to confess, a historically bad dental patient. I’m a chicken, a baby, and an avoider. Then, having left Tampa and the first dentist I ever felt relaxed and comfortable with (she was also – no joke – a Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL cheerleader), I had a series of bad experiences with a Wake Forest practice followed by a period of not going at all.

Today a dental emergency forced me to find a new office. So now I have to actually put my faith – and the spiritual serenity I love to talk about so much when things are easy – to the test.

Faith Front and Center:

I am going to try to be honest about the process, and to keep my faith in God front and center. Not that I expect God to eliminate all the pain (although that would be nice, thank you very much) but that I want to demonstrate some evidence that God’s presence and comfort really do make a difference.

Today went well. I checked in, they were kind and non-judgmental, my situation was evaluated, and we have the beginnings of a plan. I was not anxious, and I felt a real calm the whole time.

But today was the easy day; next is the root canal. I promise to let you know how it goes. Or, more importantly, I promise to be honest about how the light, love, grace, mercy, and peace I talk about all the time come into play when the chips are down.

Always on the journey – DEREK

PS – Here is the account of the root canal I almost had in Egypt!!!

and here too “Where children die of an abscess

commentary faith life Living Gratefully

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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