A four letter word can make all the difference… but its not the word you think!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to preach again at a local church. I have about half a dozen messages that I have ready to go when these opportunities arrive. Sometimes, when I am invited to speak a text or theme is picked out for me, but more often than not, that is left to me. I knew a month ago what I would be preaching yesterday. The sermon was Cornered for Grace based on Psalm 13. I have posted that sermon and the audio of one of the times I gave it here. While I was sure that God was moving me to preach it to this congregation, I did not know is how timely it was going to be for me.

It has been a rough week. I have a daughter in the hospital for depression and a spiritual daughter in for the same. We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel that was made necessary by water damage. We have had a devil of a time scheduling a plumber to come in and reconnect everything. You never think about how important a sink and stove are to the mood of the house until they are gone. It is amazing how much stress that can build up, especially in our girls. It has been forever it seems since I have worked on my PhD thesis. The fires keep listing up and the things that need done keep building up.

As usual I agree with Calvin who once quipped…

Calvin & Hobbes - "God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I'm so far behind I will never die.":

Yeah. I totally get that.

I know things are going to work out. The lesson here is to be learning that I am not capable and that Jesus is capable. I am not enough, but Jesus is enough; and because of Jesus I will always have enough. Unfortunately, the only way to be learning that is to be taken to people and places and to problems where it becomes painfully clear that you are not enough and if Jesus does not come to the rescue, you’re sunk! The truth is Jesus has always come through in the past. I have every reason to trust Him for today and tomorrow.

While that is a great truth to be learning, it is important to understand that there is nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade. Most people when they hear a person tell them the hard things they are going through as they are learning these things, say things like: I’m so sorry. I’ll pray for you. Everything happens for a reason. But I have been learning that sometimes the most helpful thing is to validate the crap.

Let me give an example.

After the service yesterday, I talked with a woman who shared how much the message helped her. She had recently been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. “We all know where that ends up.” She said.

I looked her in the eyes and what came out of my mouth was, “That sucks.”

She blinked in surprise, then gave a deep sigh of relief, smiled and said, “Thank you. It does suck. thank you so much for saying that. That is what I needed to hear.”

I have been learning that sometimes the best way to help people get through the pain, is to validate the pain. We need to give people the grace and space to admit that while everything will be alright, right now it is not alright, and that it hurts. David did it in Psalm 13. Elijah told God he wanted to die. So did Moses at one point. Jeremiah had his share of bad days too. So did Job. Even Jesus asked for the cup of suffering to be taken away if it were possible. That should make it clear that it is okay to not be okay.


  1. I know from experience how much it hurts to have a daughter suffering from an illness that cannot be seen or measured and that many people do not understand. Depression is awful, but I’m glad she’s getting the help she needs. I’m trying to decide whether or not to write a post about the emotional explosion that took place at our family dinner table last night. I try to keep the lives of my family members private (that is, off my blog), but it’s the biggest thing on my mind this morning. J.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Go where Jesus lead on that. For us, we decided as a family to share some of what goes on. People need to know it is OK to talk about. So often we keep this hidden and it becomes a shame thing. Too often we think being a Christian means having to put the “every thing is great” face on.


  2. Good to hear from you. Ii was thinking about you today, and there you are! I remember when I worked retail they trained us that when a person comes in with a return or a complaint, let them talk until they are done. They have been practicing that for a long time. if you interrupt them, you only make them feel worse. Then acknowledge what they said.
    It’s the same thing. People need to be validated, and just snuffing them off with a quaint saying doesn’t do that. Saying “That sucks” does!. Good to hear from you my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mom,Lothar (my older brother),dad,most of my aunts and uncles gone. The girlfriend and son who disowned me. It does suck! But it is good to know I have friends like you to share in the journey and a Savior who was tempted in all points like we are yet without sin.

    Liked by 1 person

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