I think when difficulties/trials/catastrophes/sufferings are brought to bear on our lives, an apt message to preach to our own soul is always, “Repent!”
It’s so offensive. And the message seems to rub salt in the wound. It’s kind of like, “Hey, I am enduring a terrible loss, the last thing I need to do is be reminded that I’m a terrible sinner.”
And, for many, it seems to imply that if only we had repented sooner, the calamity would not have happened, so then guilt follows, as if we caused the calamity. (For instance, if I hadn’t made an idol of my children, the Lord wouldn’t have taken one away).
But not everyone who loses a child has made an idol of them. So, what then? Is the message still “repent”? And I think it is. God’s purposes in the trials He brings to us are beyond finding out. And I believe the purposes are vast, not singular. And I also believe that for those who are in Christ, they are always good purposes.
[Sidebar: I am NOT advocating that friends who see another friend experience a trial immediately respond with the message, “Repent!” Bad form! We don’t want to end up like Job’s “friends.” And if you are prone to pointing out the reasons why a certain trial has befallen a friend (unless there is obvious consequence-producing sin), think twice. God’s ways are unsearchable. Humble yourself, you may be next.]
Repentance is always good for us and we’re always in need of it.
Shortly after I found out I was pregnant with the little one that the Lord took at 8 weeks, I wrote this:
“Not all calamities and sufferings are given for the specific cause of jerking us out of rebellion. But I dare say that all calamities and suffering should have the effect of causing us to draw nearer to God.
So, I’m praying now, as things are good and blessings flow like water and honey in my life, that I’ll think now about how to respond when calamity comes. That I’ll get a footing for the hard times that I may one day face.
And that my footing will be in the Word and in Jesus Christ, the one Mediator between God and man, without whom, meeting my Maker would be more fearsome than any earthly calamity.”
How often the Lord has brought this to mind as I wage war against being engulfed by sorrow. I preach to myself, “Repent! Draw near to God. Get your footing in the Word. Gaze at the cross. Do not fear the loss of a child, fear the Lord and love Him.”
[Pastor John has some thoughts on repentance and tornadoes today..]
You are always inspiring and thought-provoking my friend.
How do you begin the process of reconciliation when you’ve been deeply and perhaps repeatedly sinned against? When an offended party works toward reconciliation, the first and most important step is the confirmation of genuine repentance on the part of the offender (see: Luke 17:3).
Consider seven signs of genuine confession and repentance: (Essential information for co-dependents or enablers)
1. Accepts full responsibility for his or her actions. (Instead of saying, ”Since you think I’ve done something wrong…” or “If have done anything to offend you…”).
2. Accepts accountability from others.
For the entire list, go to:
I was not aware that you had lost the baby. I am sorry for your loss and just want to let you know that Leah and I are here if you guys need anything.
I think that your perspective on this is a wise one. God’s purposes are myriad. God may very well be doing something very obvious, but is is probably doing millions of other things (in that same situation) that are much more obscure.
I like your 7 signs of true repentance. You’re talking about relationships between two people and I think you’re right on.
My post is talking about my own (our own) repentance toward God. You ask, “How do you begin the process of reconciliation when you’ve been deeply and perhaps repeatedly sinned against?” In the context of what I wrote, that question would be directed toward God, since He’s the one we repeatedly sin against.
His answer is that He sends His Son to bear the penalty for our chronic sin. He crushes the Righteous One to make us righteous.
Abigail, you really have a gift with words!!
Encouraged by what you shared.
Glad to see you posting again. Knowing our loving God, just knowing Him, soothes our souls, strengthens our resolve, softens our anger, and can lift our spirits from the grip of darkness that engulfs us. Sometimes, the darkness lingers and deepens, and, when it does, remember God’s common grace. God’s common grace is still God’s–only God’s–grace. Love always, Dad
What a great message Abigail. Lately I have been very convicted of things in my life that I need to do better at. Not really sin, but just things I can improve upon to be a better Christ-follower. And sometimes people tell me that I am just being too hard on myself… trying too hard or something. But I disagree. I think we can always repent, we can always do better. It won’t make God love us more or less , because his love isn’t based on what I do or say. But if the Holy Spirit brings conviction into your life, whether you’re in a good place or going through a tough time, you’re not exempt from needing to repent and follow God! Great message. And I’m so sorry for your loss right now!
I also get that, your being to hard on yourself stuff, or you expect to much from yourself!!!! but i remind myself that i trying to live by Gods standards not the worlds!