My life fell apart before my eyes not long ago. Maybe you can relate. An unexpected phone call, an untimely loss, a routine checkup - you name it.
It feels like God has abandoned you.
But without dismissing or minimizing the very real hurt you feel, I want to tell you this: God has not abandoned you. God has positioned you.
I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the exact same thing just a few days ago: “That advice may look good on Instagram or a coffee mug but it doesn’t alleviate the pain I feel so deep in my bones.” But I promise that if you can just cling to that truth, even if it doesn’t seem to be helpful now, it will be of much benefit soon.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” [2 Corinthians 4:8]
So whether it’s a simple setback or the worse news of your life, know this: there’s power in your position.
I’m a filmmaker, and we use the term “juxtaposition” a lot. “The juxtaposition of the landscape shot against the city shot really shows the difference between the town then and now.” It simply means two things being put together for contrasting effect. Which brings me to my next point:
The power is in the juxtaposition.
Where you are now juxtaposed against what God is going to do through that situation. The two are being sandwiched together for a contrasting effect. But you’re thinking, “Wow, wow, wow. Pump the brakes. It’s been one thing after another. There’s no light at the end of this tunnel.”
Again, I’m right there with you, but what if I told you that sometimes one step forward and two steps back places you right where God intends for you to be. Even though your situation may have just gone from bad to worse awful to DEFCON 1, you have to let the tension build (think bow and arrow.) Let the stakes rise.
Let’s dissect John 11 and apply these truths.
Verse 1, “Now a man named Lazarus was sick.”
- Cue setback/worse news of your life.
Verse 4, “…Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s song may be glorified through it.’”
- Positioning, not abandonment, begins. God’s glory will be revealed through this situation (after all, it is all about Him.)
Verse 17. “On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days.”
- Let the tension build.
Verse 35, “Jesus wept.”
- Don’t despise mourning. Your hurt isn’t being denied or overlooked.
Verse 37, “But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’’
- Questioning of God’s plan kicks in. Stakes continue to rise.
Verse 39, “’Take away the stone,’ he said. ‘But, Lord,’ said Martha, the sister of the dead man, ‘by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.’”
- Phase #1 of juxtaposition (the impossible.)
Verse 40, “Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’”
- Just in case there was some confusion: it’s all about God’s glory.
Verse 43-44, “…Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.”
- Phase #2 of juxtaposition (the incredible.)
*Sandwich phase #1 and #2 together; reveal contrasting effect*
A four-day-old dead man juxtaposed against said dead man walking out of tomb. See, the power is in the juxtaposition!
The takeaway? God turns the impossible into the incredible. And He usually does so in the most glorifying, contrasting way possible.
These things take time, though. Weeks, months, seasons, decades, lifetimes. However, I’ll always follow that sentence with this one: recognizing that there’s power in your position means trusting that there’s promise in your perseverance.
Stand firm, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” [ 2 Corinthians 4:17]
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- Jared Iler // Creative Director at Humbled Daily, Wyoming native and lover of any workout that includes squats and muscle-ups!