Painful experiences tend to lead us to experience a lethal “break with reality.”  When we do not know God well, it is difficult to imagine that He can sustain us through our trials.  People are tempted to question how one Person can be all that they need with past-due bills, children to feed and clothe, work responsibilities to fulfill, and all that while shouldering pressures of poor health, financial setbacks, and relational friction.

It is key to note that, in tough times, we find our happiness and contentment in relationship, not in our circumstances.  Specifically I am referring to our relationship with God Who is with us.

Jim Berg in God Is More Than Enough states, “This was the attitude of the prophets and apostles.  Though they faced persecution and adversity, they were amazingly joyful and content because of what they experienced in their relationship with God Himself.  This is the divine intention for us.  We must learn to interpret our experiences by what we know about God through His Word instead of interpreting what God is like by our experiences.  If we do not ground our belief about the nature of God and His disposition to us in the Scriptures, we will reject much of what He says about Himself when we face difficulty.”

Here are four worlds that DO NOT EXIST:

  1. A world where God does not love you does not exist.
  2. A world where God is not in control of all things for our good and His glory does not exist.
  3. A world where God is not with you or where He does not hear your cry does not exist.
  4. A world where God is heavy-handed and where He is waiting to for us to mess up so He can club us does not exist.

The worlds listed above are fantasy lands of our wounded imagination.  They are not real worlds.  They do not exist.  Therefore trying to live in them with those beliefs does not work well.  If we rejects what God says to be true about Himself and about the way things work in His world, all we are left with is a highly flawed fantasy.  A fantasy that will fail us in times of crisis.

I don’t know if you realize it or not but Psalm 23 has benefit for more than end-of-life eulogies.  It refers to a world in which God’s soothing presence and intimate provision is especially palpable and real.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Will you move to this world?  The “real world” is not found in the secular but in the sacred.  If you are filled with fear, instability, or loneliness, may I challenge you to start with a God who can transform your dark, broken world into His bright, glorious kingdom!