Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Which Way Will Your Troubles Take You?

"Affliction will either warm you up toward spiritual things or turn you cold."

Joni Eareckson Tada

My grandfather was a scary man.

When I was a child, he would pinch my sister and me, pinch us hard, just to see what we'd do. He'd say terrible things to my mother. He'd get angry easily and go on verbal tirades, red-faced, spit flying. My mother has horrible stories from her childhood, stories of beatings and fleeing his anger. The first word that comes to mind when I think of my grandpa is evil.

After I became an adult I learned he came from a family with a rich Christian heritage. I heard him sing old Baptist hymns with passion and fervor. His grandparents even set money aside for him to attend seminary--my evil, abusive grandfather! What happened?!

My mom tells stories of sporadic church attendance as a child. When things were going well, they'd go to church, until something unexpected happened, like a hailstorm wiping out a crop. Then Grandpa would scream to the heavens and be mad at God for a while and they'd be out of church until he got over it.

His afflictions made him cold. He spent his life fighting God, trying to prove he didn't need a Savior, making himself miserable and angry.

And evil.

He left a legacy of hurt when he should have left one of light.

He makes me realize I have a choice and so do you. I can let my afflictions make me bitter and angry and hurt everyone around me, or I can use them to bring me into the lap of Jesus. I've seen first hand how cold it can be to turn the other way, how destructive and life sucking bitterness is, how it affects generations. I won't do that do my family and I praise God my mother didn't either.

My grandfather led a tormented life, but he didn't have to. If he would have chosen to turn TOWARDS God in his troubles instead of away from Him, he could have had more peace. If he accepted the afflictions were not personal, were not a punishment, but meant to bring him closer to his Savior, his life would have been different. And so would have my mother's.

"Choose this day whom you will serve," Joshua said.

Which will you pick, a life of peace or one of torment?

"In this life you will have trouble," Jesus tells us.

Which way will your troubles take you?

Join our host Debbie at Heart Choices for more In "Other" Words.


Jaime Kubik said...

WHat a great blog!! Perfect for that quote! Sometimes it is hard to go to God in times of struggle, but what a blessing it is once we've come out on the other side of the tragic or difficult event! Thank you for your post!

Karen said...

Wow what a great example of someone who turned away instead of towards God. It doesn't have to be that way, its a choice we make daily in our walk. Thanks for sharing today.

Rachelle said...

Can't wait for the book!! Love ya my friend, let's do lunch!

Debbie said...

Oh Tami, your words touched me today. How I want to turn towards my Savior in the midst of affliction and not turn away. It's so sad how your grandfather acted and how it impacted your family. Bitterness is awful and has lasting effects not only on the bitter person but those who are around them. Well written and very touching.

Denise Hughes said...

What a poignant example of turning cold toward spiritual things. Thank you for sharing today. Are you working on a book?

e-Mom said...

An inspiring post, Tami. I'm tweeting it... :~D

Linda said...

Powerful observation and relevance to each of our lives today.

MiPa said...

Amazing, yet heartbreaking, post. How sad your grandfather chose to not live in the fulness of faith. You are so right that it affects the generations to come as well. I'm thankful that you and future generations have also seen the power of breaking that cycle of despair.

Thank you for sharing. It is often tempting to only focus on the positive stories. Yet we often learn more from those which show the pitfalls.