Shout Out

Published on Dec 20th, 2017 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Shout Out

Shout Out I would like to play with some definitions so that I can share something that is on my heart. I suppose it is like poets who take literary license and create their own word abbreviations. The thoughts presented here today are thoughts that I wish I could speak personally to some of you about. So, if you would like to chat, give me a call or send me an email and you can teach me where I went wrong or what God is teaching you.

Giving a shout out is a way of recognizing someone or a group of someones. I would like to give a shout out to those friends of mine who are joyful in Christ. They recognize and rejoice in the amazing grace and mercy that God has given them. Anytime they meditate or hear of these great truths their hearts are moved and a new song is on their lips. They are carried along in life by this joy. But they must also admit that there is unhappiness in their lives. They are not depressed. They are still completely functioning in life and walking in obedience to Christ. They know and are comforted, by the truth that God is completely in control of all things and that he does not withhold any good thing. They are persevering in the faith and their worship of God is full and rich. In fact, their worship may be deeper now than it ever has been in their life. But, they are unhappy. They are struggling with where God has them in life and what God is doing in their life right now. They are joyful that it is his plan and will in their lives but it is often difficult to find happiness in their present situation. They seek, each moment of each day, to find the hand of God and they are often surprised by what God does but their heart so quickly reverts back to the blues.

So what do we do for these friends today? Do we rebuke them with verses like, “rejoice evermore” or “in everything give thanks”? I don’t think so. They know these verses way better than we do. I believe they are probably obeying these verses in ways that we will never know. How do we help then? Do we continually point out the positives? Maybe. Sometimes that is needed. Do we lift up God and proclaim his awesomeness to them? Never a bad thing to do.

Here is what I think we should do. We need to allow our friends, and maybe ourselves, to be human. We need to allow them to struggle to persevere. Struggle to work out their salvation. We need to allow them to weep over their Jerusalems. Jesus simply asked his disciples to stay awake while he unburdened to the Father. Maybe we just need to walk quietly with them, or even at times, to walk a little behind while they speak with the Father. Maybe we need to be those friends who are willing to cut a hole in a roof to bring our friends to the feet of Jesus. Praying diligently for them.

Holidays are often difficult times. They are reminders of what could be or what was. Left unbattled those feelings of what we desire can destroy us. They can rob us of our faith. They can undermine our trust in our Heavenly Father. But it is also human to struggle with the difficult, righteous paths that God brings us down. Jesus asked pointedly, “My Father if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt 26:39)

So I ask this question...Is it possible to be joyful in Christ, not depressed, but unhappy? I think it is. I do not think it is a violation of the commands “rejoice evermore” or “in everything give thanks”. I think it is just being human. We cannot embrace that unhappiness, we must always battle it, but we can recognize that part of this life here on earth will include the blues, burdens, and cruddy circumstances. Because of Jesus, they will not, and do not, rule our lives but they are part of them. I hope God will give me wisdom as to how to be a good friend during Christmas and that my friends will understand their struggle better each day.

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