2 Outcomes of Bad Stuff

Bad stuff happens to everyone. Even Joel Osteen has bad days. He’ll never tell you about them, but he does.

My daughter has had a string of bad days lately. She had spinal fusion surgery last Thursday and is still in the hospital as I write this. We are hoping she comes home today, but you know how those things go.

Even when she comes home, she’s still going to have lots of pain and bad stuff to overcome.

I am always intrigued by bad stuff. I’m a pessimist. I enjoy bad things. I’m not really happy unless there’s something horrible going on.

Bad things fascinate me. I’ve been through some bad things and I always try to learn from them and watch the process of how they change me. It’s pretty cool. It’s one of the big reasons I like a bad thing.

The Bible says that God tests our faith. Tests can be good things, or at least what our flesh would consider good. Hollywood shows us what happens to people when they get what they dreamed for, when they get fame and fortune. That’s just as much a test as being poor and miserable.

For the most part though, we tend to view tests as bad stuff that happens to us. When bad things happen, one of two things occur:

1) Faith is strengthened
2) Faith is weakened

Either we draw nigh to God, or we drift away. Watching young people go through bad stuff is intriguing. Many kids profess faith, but in all honesty, have no idea what it really means. Once they get hit with bad stuff, then you find out.

Many young adults, thinking faith makes everything happy, get disillusioned when something bad happens instead. If they’ve been taught that faith makes everything happy, you can expect their faith to weaken.

But if a young person has been told that faith is about God’s Word, centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all its promises of future glory, faith has a shot at getting stronger.

As we grow, we see more and more how short life is and how pointless existence is. There is nothing permanent. Each day has its own outrage, soon forgotten by tomorrow’s outrage. Nothing lasts, and, in the end, you die a miserable death and it’s over.

IF we live for heaven, bad stuff on earth strengthens faith.
IF we live for earth, bad stuff on earth weakens faith.

When things fall apart, what happens to your faith? I pray it is strengthened.


2 thoughts on “2 Outcomes of Bad Stuff”

  1. Jeff,

    Was the surgery because of an accident, or was there some kind of structural problem in her back?

    Your view seems a tad pessimistic, ie. “you die a miserable death.” Not everyone dies a “miserable” death, although I suppose you could argue that death itself is a pretty miserable end.

    It’s true though, neither the dreams of the world, nor “most” religion, really prepares us for the grueling reality of life in a sinful world.

    Just a week ago, I suddenly got a pinched nerve in the upper spine (just below my neck). I’d never had anything like it, didn’t expect it, then wham. You wake up one morning with a numb thumb, and burning pain in your right arm, and it just doesn’t go away. It’s been a week and a half, and it’s slowly getting better (I hope). I’m finding that if I keep correct posture while sitting, it helps a lot.

    But there were a few nights when I couldn’t get a comfortable position in bed, it just made the pain worse, so I had to get up and just stay up the whole night in my chair.

    And I’m supposed to be out looking for a job this week (we moved a few months ago to a new area)…but it can’t happen yet! So it goes.

    But then you read about other people who have it much worse, like continuous screaming pain for months at a time…

    I’m using the time for other things. I’ve had a few other painful times in my life, and when it gets really bad, all I can do is pray.

    It helps a lot to believe that Jesus went through this life, and knows and sympathizes with all that we go through. He didn’t fail under discouragements, and He wants to give us the same unfailing faith.

    That, to me, is where the real Christian battle is fought: in the unexpected struggles, disappointments, and delays that life throws at us. Most of the triumphs of Christianity are not written in the pages of history, but will be revealed when we get to heaven.

  2. The surgery was due to advanced scoliosis. If it were not taken care of now it would get worse, resulting in increased pain and deformity. We were told it’s best to take care of it while she’s young and more bendy rather than waiting til old age when the body won’t respond well. Everything went well and she finally came home last night. Lots of pain. Still a long recovery to go.

    Sorry to hear about your ordeal. Life just isn’t much fun. But, as you say, Christ was tempted in every way like we are, yet without sin. It was for the joy set before Him that He endured. We follow His steps.

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