My talented writer friend from Belfast, Northern Ireland shares POWERFUL and PERSONAL words about moving with Jesus through life’s hardest curveballs. I’m so thankful for this wisdom wakeup call…
Moving Through Devastating Disappointments
By Paula Halliday
Curveballs don’t come with warning signs. Believe me. I know. Because five years ago, one flew in my direction and instantly knocked me off my feet. No-one ever warned me it was coming. No-one told me to brace for impact, or to run and take cover. No, it came hard. It came fast. And it came from absolutely nowhere.
I wonder if you, too, have ever experienced a moment in life like this? One moment that threw your world off balance and caught you completely off guard. The uninvited problem. The unplanned detour. The uneasy conversation. The unfulfilled dream. The unwanted news. Yes, one very unexpected moment tossed towards a very unsuspecting you.
Truth be told, the injuries I sustained were not obvious. I guess, broken hearts are much harder to see than broken bones. For hidden behind a freshly-painted smile and a rehearsed “I’m fine”, was a woman, crippled by a serious diagnosis.
Why did God allow this to happen to me? Why did He not divert this curveball from coming my direction? My expectations of what God could-have-done, should-have-done, were in pieces, and so was my heart. My daily conversations with Him ended. You know, kind of like I was giving God the silent treatment. And my Bible gathered dust in my bottom drawer for days. I drew a large question mark over God’s good plans for my life, and I drew away from Him.
Disappointment can do that. It creates distance between us and God, if we allow. I know this was true for me. In fact, this was true for Mary too.
In Luke 10:39 we read how Mary loved to sit at Jesus’ feet. The Greek word used here for the verb ‘to sit’ is para kathezomai, which means ‘to sit closely beside’ [kathezomai means ‘to sit down’, para means ‘to be close beside’]. But notice where Mary sits when her brother, Lazarus, unexpectedly dies, and Jesus arrives four days after her brother’s burial.
‘So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.’ (John 11:20 ESV, emphasis mine).
The Greek word used here for ‘to sit’ is kathezomai. Did you notice the prefix ‘para’ is missing? You see, Mary, too, had sustained injuries from a curveball crisis. Jesus didn’t do what she expected. He didn’t even come when she asked. And Mary’s response? No longer did she choose to sit close beside Jesus. Instead, disappointment drove Mary to distance herself from Jesus.
Oh, how I so deeply relate. Can you?
When disappointment disrupts our day, it’s easy to wonder why God ever allowed it to happen and wander away from Him. Yes, I’ve been there. Remember the banished Bible in my bottom drawer? But I refuse to stay there. Friend, we cannot choose our circumstances, but we can choose our response to them. So what if instead of allowing disappointment to drag us further away from God, we allowed disappointment to draw us closer to God?
Of course, it is not wrong to take time, to sit, to grieve, to process any disappointment you may experience as you journey through life. But remember this; you do not have to sit alone. We may never be able to make sense of our circumstances, but we can sense His presence in all circumstances. And with proximity comes His perspective. With closeness comes clarity. With intimacy comes insight. With nearness comes new revelation. Today, I choose in advance to para kathezomai; to sit closely beside the Lord in all circumstances. And I pray you will too.
Paula Halliday is a thirty-something year old speech therapist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is a self-confessed foodie and tea-drinking addict with a passion for both written and spoken words. Paula loves nothing more than a great adventure. Her favourite one being; to live each day with Jesus.
Although surrounded by incredible family and friends, Paula has found unexpected beauty in singleness in this season of life. In the near future, she hopes to publish her first book which aims to encourage other single Jesus girls to do the same. Connect with Paula on Instagram
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Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.
Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily Bread! Or follow her on Facebook/Instagram.