I think it safe to assume that we all have been in crisis at some point in our lives. I am talking about those times when we reach a point of true desperation. I am talking about those times when we feel most exposed in relationships, raising our children, or suffering from things beyond our control like cancer or profound loss. In those times when we have lost control and have run out of answers to right the ship, or we see things in ourselves we didn’t think existed, we either spiral further out of control or we turn to God. When we turn to God we often do one of two things: We choose to trust God or we try to manipulate Him. This is not unique to those who are lost or immature in their faith. It can happen to us all, but it is a symptom of forgetting the heart of God and/or setting our expectation on our own will rather than His.
For some of you who know me, it may be hard to believe but when I was young I was not cool. Of course, I am kidding. I am not sure I am very cool today, but I am not nearly as conflicted as I was for the majority of my life. Today, I am confident in a simple and profound truth. In junior high I was among the 99% of the population that was awkward and tortured by the 1% of the gifted and beautiful people of the world.
If I look back at my new life with Jesus, the periods where my growth stagnated or I felt stuck almost always were periods where I was captive to bitterness in my heart toward others. I think all of us, if we are honest, can recall a time where we have experienced significant pain at the hands of our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we find ourselves in these situations, forgiveness seems far less gratifying than personal justice or writing relationships off.