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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Walking With God Through Trials (Part 1 of 2)

Walking With God Through Trials (Part 1 of 2)

Michele Cushatt shares her story of walking through difficult times and how faithful God was throughout. She explores ten practices—concepts such as lament, humility, contentment, and perspective—that will help you build and strengthen your faith so you can weather those stressful seasons with God. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: August 23, 2023

Preview:

Michele Cushatt: Jesus entered into our suffering. He didn’t say, “Pick yourself up by the bootstraps and get your act together. I’ve saved the world. Come, you know, be … you, you should be fine.” He entered into the suffering with us and he suffered so we would know we are not alone in our suffering, right? So if Jesus, God himself, could lower his, you know, eternal optimism, you could say- (laughs)

John: Yeah.

Michele: … to enter into the places of our pain, and he did it knowing that’s the only way that we could have healing, then we’ve gotta slow down too and enter into that place with others.

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Michele Cushatt, and she joins us today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: You know, John, we all think we have strong faith, and then something happens.

John: Mm-hmm.

John: Something rocks our world that changes perhaps that attitude. Uh, maybe it’s an adverse diagnosis or an adult child who’s made some choices that you strongly disagree with.

John: Mm-hmm.

John: ‘Cause you know, with your experience, it’s a dead end, and it’s not gonna help them spiritually or probably in any other way. Um, maybe a spouse that’s decided they’re done with marriage. I mean, we hear from many, many people every month-

John: Mm-hmm.

John: … and those are some of the pain points that they express to us. And these storms of life leave us shaken, wondering if God is truly there. That’s the moment, that’s the depth of the valley.

John: Mm.

John: Psalm 34:18, I often quote it here, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” And that should be a comfort to us, uh, that he’s not … uh, he hasn’t left.

John: Yeah.

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: He hasn’t disappeared. He knows where we’re at, and is probably trying to teach us some things in those valleys. Uh, so today, we want to strengthen you in your walk and help you to be strong in those valleys.

John: Yeah. And Michele Cushatt has been here before. She’s a very popular author and speaker. And, uh, she and her husband Troy have six children. And we’re gonna be talking today about, uh, her story and insights as captured in a terrific book. It’s called A Faith That Will Not Fail: 10 Practices to Build Up Your Faith When Your World Is Falling Apart. Stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or give us a call to learn more about that book. 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

John: Michele, welcome back to Focus.

Michele: Thank you. It’s so good to be here.

John: It is good to have you. And, uh, you know, right from the beginning here, often a person that writes a book about pain, uh-

Michele: (laughs)

John: … sometimes those people have not experienced it.

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: And therefore, it rings a little hollow. You’re bringing a lot of-

Michele: Yeah.

John: … truth to the table-

John: Mm-hmm.

John: … because of what you’ve experienced.

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: People may even hear a little different voice in you-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … because you had, uh, cancer. Just express for us what happened and give the listener, the viewer, an idea of that valley, uh, that particular valley that you walked through.

Michele: Absolutely. Well, I was about 39 years old, a mom of kids that were in, uh, grade school, middle school, high school. Uh, it was an ordinary Tuesday before Thanksgiving when I got a phone call from my doctor. The week before, I had gone in ’cause I had an ulcer on the side of my tongue that just wouldn’t go away. No big deal, we have stuff like that. Um, you know, I was a very healthy 30-something-year-old woman, but that day basically the doctor said, “I’m sorry, Michele, but you have cancer.” And it was squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue, cancer of the tongue. Now, (laughs) I didn’t even know that existed, let alone it was something that I could get as a young woman. Uh, and that-

John: And a non-smoker.

Michele: And a … I’m a non-smoker.

John: It’s more typical of a smoker.

Michele: I have none of the risk factors. I was very healthy, ran half marathons, did triathlons. So, like, it was absolutely out of left field. Um, well, that initial diagnosis proved to be cancer caught early, kind of a best-case scenario. Um, the hardest part of that initial diagnosis was the reality that it could happen to me.

John: Yeah.

Michele: Right? That you can do all of the things right and still end up with a wrong result. Uh, the doctor said, “We got it all. You have nothing to worry about,” except that they were incorrect. And over the next four and half years, it came back two more times.

John: Hmm.

Michele: The most significant, uh, was it came back within seven months of my second diagnosis, very aggressive, much more advanced. They gave me about two weeks to get my affairs in order. At which point in time, they put me in the hospital, again two days before Thanksgiving.

John: Hmm.

Michele: Took out two-thirds of my tongue. Um, then they had to do an incision in my neck, in my arm, on my leg, to kind of put all the pieces and parts back together to give me some kind of semblance of a functional mouth, so I could eat and drink and talk and swallow-

John: Wow.

Michele: … like we do every day.

John: Ugh. That is … You know, again, that’s so formidable-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … as an adversary that you gotta confront this cancer. And it strikes right at something you love to do, and that’s to talk to other people.

Michele: Yeah.

John: I mean-

Michele: So I’ve been doing ministry as a speaker, bible teacher, mentor, coach. I coach speakers.

John: Yeah.

Michele: I mean- (laughs)

John: Yeah, think of the irony of that. But again, it does provide some authenticity-

Michele: Yes.

John: Mm-hmm.

John: … to your story.

Michele: Yes.

John: Some terrific authenticity that you’ve been there.

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: It’s not something you’re just waxing about because it’s the right thing to say. You’ve had to live it. So I really wanted to get to that. And we’re gonna weave that story throughout the next couple of days.

Michele: Yeah.

John: And we’ll talk about that. Le- let’s get into some of the application of what you’ve learned. Not only in that, but another family difficulty that you’ve had.

Michele: Sure.

John: And again, we’ll unlock a lot of that as we move along. But, um, we often hear that it’s important to have a solid foundation of faith. Of course it is, right? But you relate that to home renovation. Now, I did a home renovation-

Michele: (laughs)

John: … during COVID and- (laughs)

Michele: (laughs) You did too?

John: Yeah. We did. And it was-

Michele: Welcome to the club of dumb decisions, right? (laughs)

John: (laughs)

John: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, half of it was just getting the materials. You had the-

Michele: Yes. Exactly.

John: I mean, we could not find, like, a refrigerator and a-

Michele: Uh-huh.

John: … dishwasher that matched. And they said they’d deliver it in, like, 18 months.

Michele: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

John: Does anybody remember this?

John: Yeah.

Michele: Yes.

John: You could not get a-

Michele: Yes.

John: … washer, a dryer-

John: Yeah.

John: … a fridge.

Michele: And a 2 x 4 cost like a million dollars. Yeah. (laughs)

John: Yeah.

John: Yeah. So in this, I share your pain.

Michele: Uh-huh.

John: But what, what was your relationship (laughs) to your COVID renovation?

Michele: (laughs) Yeah. So it was October … Well, it started around August of 2020. At this point, we had been, you know, basically trapped in our home-

John: (laughs)

Michele: … with three preteens, right?

John: (laughs) Yes.

Michele: And (laughs) like, it’s like the worst nightmare. Actually, my twins turned 13 the day that the world shut down. And so, yeah, so we’re doing this. And, you know, I don’t know what we were thinking, but one day my husband and I said, “We oughta think about moving and renovating the house.”

John: We’ve got this extra time. Yeah. (laughs)

Michele: “You know, we’re home all day anyway.”

John: Yeah.

Michele: And we found a property with eight acres, uh, outside of Den-

John: Oh, that’s nice.

Michele: … like halfway between Denver, Colorado Springs. The problem was the house had been vacant for more than a year. And the owners before us hadn’t done any maintenance for 20 years.

John: Hmm.

John: Oh.

John: Twenty years?

Michele: Yeah. So it had bee-

John: Okay, it’s a fixer upper.

Michele: This is a big time fixer upper.

John: (laughs)

Michele: Uh, and so we walk through it. And first of all, we had to walk through all the weeds to get to the front door, right, ’cause it was just a mess. But my husband’s a contractor and a home inspector. And so he really evaluated. And he came to me after doing his inspection and he said, “It’s kind of a mess, but the foundation is good.”

John: Okay.

Michele: And he said, “As long as the foundation is good, we can fix everything else.”

John: Hmm.

Michele: And that really hit me, right? Um, uh, you know, let’s just say it’s been two years since then, two and a half years, and we’re still fixing it. (laughs) So the renovation-

John: But not the foundation.

Michele: But the foundation is solid.

John: Mm-hmm.

Michele: And he was absolutely right. And so how does that then translate to this walk of faith?

John: Now, you continue that story in, in the book about how that related to, uh, Jesus, I think, uh, and the disciples in the boat in the storm. Is that-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: Is that fair?

Michele: Yeah, that, that whole story, Jesus is with the disciples in the boat. All of a sudden, uh, what … the Gospel … one of the Gospels says is that a furious squall came up. So we’re not talking a rainstorm. We’ve had lots of rain here in Colorado. This is like hardcore squall. Like hurricane force winds, terrifying. The irony is the disciples are panicked and Jesus is sleeping. And you see this juxtaposition-

John: Mm-hmm.

Michele: … between his calm and their chaos.

John: Yeah.

Michele: Right? And so they wake him up and their words to him were like, “Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” I f-

John: Kind of a common to what we say when we’re in trouble.

Michele: Exactly. I find that-

John: “Lord, are you there?”

Michele: … so fascinating.

John: Yeah.

Michele: Like, they’re not even talking about the storm, they’re talking about how they’re going to drown.

John: Mm-hmm.

Michele: They’re making it personal. And so they look at Jesus, “Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” And Jesus, you know, sits up, wakes up from his sleep, and just says a word and everything goes calm. Just in a moment. But what’s so profound about that story is he looks at them and he doesn’t talk about the storm, he doesn’t talk about the panic, he doesn’t talk about the fact that they could’ve died, he looks at them and asks them a question that we all ask, “Where is your faith?”

John: Hmm.

Michele: And underneath that is a really important truth. We get caught up in the circumstantial, and understandably so, it’s terrifying. But we see all the rain, and the wind, and the thunder and the lightening, and Jesus is saying what’s really at stake is not that. What is at stake is your faith-

John: Hmm.

Michele: … and, “Where is your faith?”

John: And what does he say then to Peter-

Michele: (laughs)

John: … that makes it-

Michele: So then fast-forward to the Last Supper. So this … You know, Peter was on the boat that day. Fast-forward to the last supper.

John: Well, he tried to walk on the water.

Michele: He did. I mean, he’s had lots of like-

John: Gotta give him credit for that.

John: (laughs)

Michele: (laughs) He’s had lots of questions.

John: Don’t know that he got very far.

John: Yeah. (laughs)

Michele: But you fast-forward to that Last Supper and Jesus knows what’s about to happen. Like, he knows-

John: Mm-hmm.

Michele: … his time’s coming. He’s been talking about it. Like, “I’m gonna die.” He’s been letting them know bad things are gonna happen. Disciples don’t get it. And right at this dinner he looks at Peter, which is so fascinating, the bottom’s about to drop out, he’s letting Peter know, but he’s saying, “You don’t even know it’s coming. I know it’s coming. I’ve already prayed for you before it happens.”

John: Yeah.

Michele: But the best part of all, and this is kind of the, um, the culmination of this whole scene, he goes, “I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith would not fail.” He didn’t pray for Peter’s health to be good. He didn’t pray for Peter’s family to be intact. He didn’t pray for Peter to be wrapped in bubble wrap when the arrest happens in the Garden of Gethsemane. He says, “I have prayed that your faith would not fail.” And when I read that, you know, um, and contrasted it with my own life story and life experience, I realized that God was trying to help me see, these other things are terrifying, the Devil is going to eat you for lunch, it’s gonna be rough, but I have prayed for you and don’t forget that what is most at stake here isn’t your health, it’s not your family, it’s your faith.

John: Yeah.

John: Hmm.

John: Which is so good. And that is the basis of the book, A Faith That Will Not Fail: 10 Practices to Build Up Your Faith When Your World Is Falling Apart. And we’re gonna look at some of those 10. We can’t cover ’em all. But I do … I do want to explore with you that feeling because now you’re on the other side. You’ve gone through catastrophes.

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: You feel the Lord’s presence. But taking you back-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … to that pre-Thanksgiving diagnosis-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … when the doctor says to you, “You, you’ve got cancer and eventually, you know, we’re gonna have to take a big majority of your tongue.”

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: That moment for you is probably what we would all-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … want to do, is, “God, where are you?”

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: “What’s happened? How did I fail you?” We tend to turn that into a transactional situation with God.

Michele: Hmm.

John: To say, “I’ve, I’ve lived my life as best as I can before you and th- this is the payback.”

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: Why would that be? And, you know, I, I’m setting that up also as a valley walker-

Michele: Uh-huh.

John: … as an orphan kid, I, I think I’ve learned some things in there. But speak to that person who may be just today, or yesterday-

Michele: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

John: … or last week, or last month got hit and they’re in that spot, where they’re saying, “God, I thought you were real.”

Michele: Mm-hmm. Yeah. The presence of pain makes us question the presence of God. Those two things, we think they cannot be simultaneous. We think if we feel uncomfortable, if we’re suffering, if we’re weeping, if we have tears, that that must mean that God is absent. And part of our faith journey is learning to understand, as you said at the very beginning of this program, that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

John: Mm-hmm.

Michele: And he saves those who are crushed. The cross itself, and this is what I want those who are listening right now, you may not feel it right now, you may not be able to grasp it right now, but I want you to picture Jesus on the cross. Not, uh, coming out of the tomb, but him suffering because that is evidence of the fact that God came close to the brokenhearted. He is near those who are crushed. And if you are in a place where you are crushed and you are broken, then that is exactly where God is going to meet you.

John: Mm-hmm.

John: Mm-hmm. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. And, uh, today we’re talking with Michele Cushatt about her book, A Faith That Will Not Fail. Uh, as you can tell, she’s speaking from her heart and, uh, from the truths of the Scripture. Get a copy of this book, to help you prepare for the storms or walk through them, uh, with more knowledge and courage. Uh, our number’s 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

John: Michele, the first of the practices that you encourage-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … people to follow in those valleys they face is lament.

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: I think, you know, that can sound like a foreign word to some people ’cause it’s not in the normal lexicon of everyday language. So what is lament and then how do we put it into practice to help position our emotions before God?

Michele: Lament is, uh, kind of an old-fashioned ancient type of word, but very simply it’s the vocalization of grief. It’s simply allowing ourselves to give voice to and express the very real grief that we experience. The irony is in my Christian heritage, there was this kind of, um, maybe not over message that to be full of sadness and grief was somehow unfaithful.

John: Yeah, needed to be strong.

Michele: Yeah. You need to be strong. You need to say, “God is good all the time.” Well, yes, he is, (laughs) but you can also be sad. You know, lament is very … simply telling the truth about your pain. He already knows. Right? Now, why this is so important is, is we cannot even begin the process of healing and growing until we acknowledge that there’s something that needs to be healed.

John: Hmm.

Michele: Right?

John: Mm-hmm.

Michele: So the more that we feel like we have to be strong, and guess who’s our savior? Ourselves.

John: Hmm.

Michele: When we can express grief, when we can lament, then we are placing ourselves in a place of dependency on the only one that has the power, the authority, the credibility, to save us.

John: Yeah. And the goal is to move closer to Christ likeness. Right?

Michele: Yes.

John: To be indwelling in him-

Michele: Yes.

John: … so that we have those attributes of peace in our lives. Let’s move to the next one, humility. This one, you know, humility, it’s so funny, um, I think pastors and Christian leaders suffer with a lack of humility. (laughs)

Michele: (laughs)

John: You know, you get a-

Michele: You think, maybe.

John: … lot of adulation.

Michele: Yeah.

John: You get a lotta people that-

Michele: Yeah.

John: … say, “Oh, if only my husband were like you.” (laughs) And, of course, your spouse is saying, uh, he is like you. Believe me.

Michele: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Michele: Especially, yes.

John: And, uh, you know, we’re all human. But that idea of humility and the importance-

Michele: Hmm.

John: … when you’re going through a grieving time, um, how does humility play into that process of grief?

Michele: I believe and my experience of pain and suffering …. And there’s not just been one hard thing. Cancer’s not the only hard part of my story, there’s been basically 30 years of crisis. One thing I’ve learned is that, um, our difficulty with pain, our, our tension with pain is more a problem of posture, than the pain itself.

John: Hmm.

Michele: Right? At some level, we’ve come to believe that we are entitled to a pain-free life.

John: We deserve it.

Michele: We deserve it. And this is not entirely American, but it is a uniquely American problem that we feel that the American dream is owed to us. And if anything gets in the way of that, if there’s any discomfort, if there’s any waiting too long for some good thing to happen, right, we don’t even like waiting, then we get annoyed, and angry and upset-

John: Mm-hmm.

Michele: … because we feel that it’s owed to us. Humility reminds us that even if God never did another thing for us, that he’s offering of salvation and relationship and grace and love through Jesus is more than what we need and deserve.

John: You know, I, I kind of shrink back a little bit to talk about the greatest attributes, those kinds of things.

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: But when you look at humility, it, it’s one of the top characteristics-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … of God.

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: I mean, he is humble. It’s his nature to be.

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: And we’re created in his image.

Michele: Yes.

John: But sin has entered into us.

John: Hmm.

John: And, man, does our flesh fight humility. It’s like one of the great battles of everybody’s life.

Michele: All the time.

John: Yeah.

Michele: Like, on a daily basis I feel this. I feel the tension of this entitlement rising up in me and then wanting to demand of God that he does for me what I ask. I mean, I even think of, you know, cancer came after we foster, adopted kids. And, you know, I remembered-

John: Look what I’m doing?

Michele: Look, I’m doing good work for you, God. (laughs) Do you hear how arrogant that is?

John: Yeah.

Michele: But that’s kinda the rustling. And, you know, I think of Philippians 2, where Paul talks about Jesus, uh, who being the very nature with God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant. There’s a humility there. And Peter talks about it in 1 Peter, that, “Humble yourself therefore under God’s mighty hand-

John: Yeah.

Michele: … that he will lift you up in due time.”

John: So you think of that formula, the Lord saying, “Okay, I wanna make you more like me. This is what-

Michele: Uh-huh.

John: … life is about.”

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: “I want my likeness to be in you.”

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: “And I know you’re gonna struggle with control-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … and fear, and power and these things.” So what is the Lord gonna do-

Michele: (laughs)

John: … to teach us those things?

Michele: Allow us to have the opportunity to-

John: (laughs)

John: Yeah.

Michele: … practice trust. Right?

John: So how do you process that when you get-

Michele: Yeah.

John: … that kinda diagnosis or your spouse says, “I’m done,” after 30 years, or your adult child is wayward and prodigal?

Michele: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

John: I mean, how do you really learn the right lesson-

John: Mm-hmm.

Michele: Yeah.

John: … from that?

Michele: I’m gonna give you my three-step process and, you know, kinda boil it down to what works for me. Okay. One, it really does start with lament, which we talked about. We can’t skip over to just being confident without acknowledging that this is difficult. So tell the truth and, you know, say, “This is difficult. I’m struggling. I have questions, God.” Then two is to look for evidence of God’s faithfulness in your past. Right?

John: As a reminder.

Michele: As a reminder. And God instructs this in … you know, with the Israelites and with Moses, “Do not forget what I’ve done. Go back and remember.” Joshua and the Israelites set up stones by the Jordan and God said, “So that your children and grandchildren will now.” Right?

John: Mm-hmm.

Michele: So they will go back and know. So rehearse God’s faithfulness up to this moment because that reminds you that, as big and loud as the current crisis is, you have lots of runway where God has shown you his faithfulness. So re- … to remind yourself of that. And then finally, and this is something, it’s gonna sound so simple, so trite, and it works for me, but as I was wrestling with a lot of fear and not even knowing if I would live, acknowledge my grief, rehearse God’s faithfulness, and then finally I would say out loud, “God, I trust you. I trust you.” And I would say-

John: And believe it.

Michele: I would say it as-

John: (laughs)

Michele: … many times as I needed to out loud until the fear started to go down and the belief and trust started to go up.

John: Yeah. And that is so good. So we have lament, we have humility. And again, we’re not covering all 10. But the next is relinquishment.

Michele: Hmm.

John: That’s an interesting word-

Michele: (laughs)

John: … as well.

Michele: Yeah.

John: I mean, how do you relinquish control of your life, uh, of your kids-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … of your spouse? Are you serious? If I don’t control them, Michele, do you know how they’re gonna behave?

Michele: (laughs) Tell me about it. I have a few.

John: Horribly.

Michele: 16, 16, 17-year old at home right now, as we speak, and I’m not even sure the house will be standing when I go back. Right?

John: (laughs) Okay. Well-

Michele: Um-

John: … that’s trust.

John: But it’s got-

Michele: (laughs)

John: But it’s got a good foundation. (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Michele: Exactly. Good foundation. The walls will be decimated-

John: Yeah.

Michele: … but the foundation is good. Now, relinquishment is … Well, first of all, uh, as humans we want to grab onto something. Right?

John: Yeah.

Michele: We need something to worship, something to hold onto, something to grab onto. It’s just a fact. Relinquishment is choosing what we’re gonna hold onto most of all.

John: Hmm.

Michele: You and I tend to want to hold onto outcomes. Outcomes are fickle, I can tell you that right now. I mean, I’ve heard you’re cancer free so many times. (laughs)

John: And it-

Michele: And if-

John: … wasn’t true, huh?

Michele: It wasn’t true.

John: Hmm.

Michele: If I hold onto that outcome, I am just waiting for disillusionment and disappointment.

John: Hmm.

Michele: ‘Cause ultimately, someday, for all of us, the health thing is going to get the best of us. Right?

John: Sure. Everybody.

Michele: We know that. Right? So relinquishment is about relinquishing outcomes and then holding onto a person.

John: Hmm.

Michele: Right? If God is who he says he is, that we are the apple of his eye, that he has given his very life for us, that nothing will ever separate from his love, that never will he leave us or forsake us, that’s a sure deal.

John: Yeah.

Michele: Right?

John: Yeah.

Michele: I mean, that’s a no-fail scenario. And to hold onto him more than the outcomes.

John: The other aspect of relinquishment, but I … you’re touching on it, I wanna make sure I hear it clearly, is expectation.

Michele: Hmm.

John: So relinquishment of expectation-

Michele: Yes.

John: … is part of that, I would think.

Michele: Some of that is part of our, our normalization of life on this side of eternity. And this kinda ties in with the entitlement thing too. Right?

John: Yeah.

Michele: The truth is, is you and I today, this sounds so morbid, and I’m not a (laughs) morbid, morbid person, we’re one day closer to our death.

John: Oh, yeah.

Michele: Right? And our kids-

John: Totally.

Michele: … guess what, they have a will of their own. And no matter how well you think you’re able to control them, at some point in time they’re gonna be 18 or 21 or 35 and making their own decisions. You will lose control. In fact, everything, your body, your appearance, your relationships, your career, everything will change and someday you will die. That sounds like really bad (laughs) news. And yet Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” That is reorienting our expectation, so we can relinquish outcomes and hang onto a person.

John: Hmm. And in that context, when those things are being accomplished in you, then contentment, which is another practice-

Michele: Yes. Yes.

John: … and we’ll end today, and if you can, we’ll pick up next time-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … and go through a couple more. But contentment just sounds like such a sweet spot. It’s like your favorite pillow.

Michele: (laughs)

John: It’s where you wanna lay your head down. Contentment. I’m satisfied. Everything is in a good place. What’s the practice of contentment? Almost seems like we shouldn’t be. It’s not Christian to be content.

Michele: Well, and we live in a society of achievers. Right? That we’re always chasing the next thing.

John: Yeah. It’s never enough.

Michele: It’s never enough. We always have to work harder. We have to try harder. We have to be thinner. We have to whatever. Contentment is, um, you know, this concept of the Kingdom of God will come and has come. Like there’s experience of God’s reality and Kingdom right here in this place. I didn’t need to wait to be cured of cancer to experience him. There was something of God that I could only experience in the present and that means in the pit of pain. Right? And when I start to realize that there’s some … Uh, Isaiah talks about treasures in darkness-

John: Hmm.

Michele: … secrets in hidden places. When we can start to realize that as awful as this current reality is, there’s some kind of riches or treasure right here. I don’t have to wait for something else for me to have it. It creates a sense of contentment in this place. You … That doesn’t mean you have to like your circumstances, but you realize that there is some kind of goodness that we can mine for even in the darkness.

John: Yeah. And I think my sense is when you can give that to the Lord in that pit, or that valley, it’s what puts a smile on his face.

Michele: Yeah.

John: ‘Cause I feel like he recognizes that and says, “You’re mine.”

Michele: Yes.

John: ‘Cause no matter what Satan does to sift you, as you mentioned earlier, your heart is for Him. That makes him smile, in my opinion, ’cause you’re his at-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … that point. Um, right at the end here, I’ve got to be mindful of that person that’s listening, that’s going, “Okay. I’m living in my grief right now.”

Michele: Yes.

John: “And this sounds good, but it’s like something beyond my grasp.”

Michele: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

John: Can you pray for them?

Michele: Yes.

John: Hmm.

John: And ask the Lord to help them?

Michele: Absolutely. And before I even pray, remember, Jesus prayed for you before this even happened.

John: Hmm.

Michele: Jesus, uh, we come to you right now and we bring all of our grief to you. And even if it’s ugly, and messy and overwhelming, we know you can handle it. So we bring it to you and we lay it at your feet. We pour it out to you. Thank you that long before Satan sifted us as wheat in this moment, that you prayed for us, that you have had our backs, that you are fighting for us, and that you are praying that our faith would not fail. I pray for those who are suffering right now, God, who can’t find the strength to reach for you, that, that they would feel and see and recognize your presence with them in a new way right now, this moment. That somehow, wherever they are, God, that you would speak to them, um, like, like Romans 8 says, that nothing will separate them from your love. That their pain is not evidence of your absence. In fact, you are closer than you’ve ever been. I pray for their peace and I pray for their faith, that no matter what happens, it would not fail. In Jesus name, amen.

John: Amen.

John: Hmm.

John: Michele, thank you so much. Thank you for your courage, to live through this and to fight for the right things, and for that steadfastness-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … of faith that you … is clearly evident in you. It’s awesome.

Michele: Yeah. Thank you.

John: And it encourages the rest of us-

John: Mm-hmm.

John: … that maybe have not gone through-

Michele: Mm-hmm.

John: … something like that yet.

Michele: Yet. (laughs)

John: And, uh, we will. And let me turn to the listener and the viewer, um, we’re here for you. Um, what people need in that moment is someone to talk to.

Michele: Hmm.

John: And we wanna be that for you if you don’t have that friend. Or even if you do and want that additional input, give us a call. We have caring Christian counselors who can, uh, schedule a call with you, call you and talk with you, pray with you, most likely provide additional resources to help you. And we wanna do that. Uh, also, you can pick up Michele’s great book, A Faith That Will Not Fail. Uh, that title alone (laughs) is enough to motivate most people to say-

Michele: (laughs)

John: … “Okay, that’s the kind of faith I want.” Get in touch with us. Uh, we’re a Christian ministry. And if you can’t afford to, uh, take care of the cost of that, we’ll get it into your hands. We’ll trust others will cover that. And if you can cover that, um, get in touch with us and make a one-time gift or become a monthly giver. That’s what Jean and I do. Dena and John, you do it that way.

John: Mm-hmm. We do.

John: And in that way, you help us kinda even out the budget for the year. Literally, hundreds of thousands of people will contact us, and I want it to be millions.

John: Mm-hmm.

John: So get a hold of us. We’re here for you.

John: Yeah. Let us know how we can help. Uh, join the support team if you can. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. And, uh, we’ll have details at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, I’m John Fuller, thanking you for joining us today and inviting you back next time. Uh, we’ll continue the conversation with Michele and, once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

A Faith That Will Not Fail: 10 Practices to Build Up Your Faith When Your World is Falling Apart

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