When The Bottom Drops Out
Finding Grace in the Depths of Disappointment
This is the name of a book written by Senior Pastor Robert Bugh from Wheaton Bible Church in West Chicago. It was written by him after years of helping others through the heartache and losses of life when suddenly his own life turned upside down when he unexpectedly lost both his best friend and his wife to cancer within a year and a half of each other. The book chronicles Pastor Bugh’s journey from loss to restoration and shares how our faith can be our strength especially during the most painful times of life.
We owe a gret debt of gratitude to Pastor Bugh for his willingness to share with us his personal journey through the depths of disappointment. I am aware that we are in what I would call the season of darkness and coldness. In my work at Tidewater Pastoral Counseling this is a time of year that we see more referrals than any other. Why is that? Several factors actually; first, few if any of us enjoy the colder weather – hey that’s why we moved down south… but, we are far enough north and close enough to the ocean that we do get some pretty cold days (I don’t know about you but we’ve had some frozen pipes ssrecently); second, it gets darker sooner and stays darker longer — it’s not much past 5 pm now and it’s getting dark — most of us like the sun, or understand that the sun does something to our brains that just makes uf feel better; third, the buzz of the holidays has clearly worn off and the first credit card bills are coming in — did I really spend that much????
Finally, and there are clearly some more — life continues to throw more at us than we have time or resources to respond with. Which is clearly not helped by the cold weather, darkness and our rising debt. Add to any of this a life loss (loved one; pet; job; income; friendship….) and we feel like we’re walking through that valley of the shadow of death. We see more depression, anxiety, marital and family distress in this season of the year. So, how do we do church when we’re in one of these seasons like we might be right now? How do we respond?
First, I think we need to make sure that we’re practicing good self-care — we are taught to “love others as you love yourself.” Are you taking good physical — emotional — spiritual — and intellectual care of yourself? If so — great — if not — where can you make small improvement? Secondly, we need to look around and see who else needs us to be a word of encouragement, hope or just plain help. Mike showed a video that reminded us that while what we say is important it’s even more important to make sure that what we do shares God’s love with others. Is God giving you eyes to see the needs of others and are you responding to His call to love? I know it’s risky, sometimes even uncomfortable, but we are “a movement of wholeness in a fragmented world” are we not? We need to love one another.
God is there when the bottom drops out. Wishing you warmth, light and God’s love………
Thankful for the opportunity to serve with you …………………………… Pastor Marty