When you are not OK
A re you okay? What do you do when you are not okay with your life, a relationship, or circumstances?
As I read through the Bible, the people jump out of the pages and into my life and I see myself, my feelings, my difficulties, and my faults in those people. Studying these people helps me to understand and accept others and myself.
One only needs to study the folks listed in the chapter commonly known as “the hall of faith” found in Hebrews chapter 11.
Noah is one of the more well-known folks in the Bible and what do we know about him? He was faithful in accomplishing what God tasked him with – building the Ark. After they floated around earth for a very long time waiting for the flood waters to subside, then unloading their cargo, Noah got drunk! Was Noah lonely, feeling sorry for himself, celebrating his survival?
Why did Noah get drunk?
Did he have a drinking problem? Does it matter?
God’s Word summed up what God felt about Noah, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). God expressed great confidence in Noah, only to have Noah make a major mistake in life. Can you identify with Noah? I can.
Rahab, to put it simply, was a prostitute. Say what you will about her, but I can identify well with Rahab.
Rahab sold her body, but is that any worse than selling one’s values, principles and beliefs for a little pleasure, financial gain or to escape some type of pain? Can you identify with Rahab?
Though he is not in the hall of faith chapter, Jonah, is another person who was not okay in life. Jonah was a prophet and evangelist and tasked by God to go to the Ninevites and preach salvation to them. Jonah did not like this and ran away from God. But Jonah learned what everyone learns as we run from God, wherever we go, there God is.
Jonah was unhappy with God’s compassion and mercy for the Ninevites. In fact, Jonah was so unhappy with God and His desire to save the people of Nineveh.
After he preached in the city, he sat down on a hill overlooking the city to wait and see what would happen. While Jonah was waiting we read, “… the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “Death is better to me than life” (Jonah 4:8). Think he was discouraged or depressed? Clearly Jonah was miserable. Many people, like Jonah, want to be miserable because their misery helps them justify their unhappiness and how unfair life has been to them. One of the lessons from the story of Jonah is to realize that happiness and contentment should not be based in our circumstances. The apostle Paul wrote of this very thing in one of his letters. We read, “… for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (Philippians 4:11-12). Life is about learning. Learning to survive, to be happy with whatever we have, who we are and what we are in God’s creation, to be grateful and thankful even if we have little.
What are you to do when you are not okay? When we study the Bible, we see God working and expressing His great love and forgiveness to people who are no okay.
God uses people who are not okay!
Everyone struggles with some type of weakness, temptation(s), or sin in life.
The apostle Paul wrote about our struggles, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and thing like these” (Galatians 5:19-21).
The apostle Paul warned people to remember what they struggled with. Paul wrote, “… Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you …” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). If one believes their sin or struggle is not listed here, pride is certainly strong in your life, remember, “Such were some of you …” God, through His Word reminds us that we should not condemn others because we each struggle with one or more issues. In the end, we are each human, we each have weaknesses and struggles and God loves as we are, but He changes us.
If you are not okay, know that you are not alone. I am not okay and it encourages me to read of others in the Bible who were not okay.
The Bible highlights the lives of many God saved, redeemed, and restored.
God chooses to use broken, humbled, and not okay people. Know that what God did for them, He will do for you. Know that there are people who care about you, counselors, pastors, old friends who you think have forgotten you, even new friends you have not met.
Your story can be found in the Bible.
The Bible has many examples of people who were not okay in life. God loved them and He loves you.
God has a plan to bring you out of your difficulty, the stress, the misery, the unhappiness.
If you are not okay, admit it. Look beyond your circumstances and begin to know and believe that God is working in your life. Follow the example Jesus set, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3).
If you are not okay, read Hebrews chapter eleven and then learn about those listed. I am confident you will be able to identify with at least one, maybe two or more of the heroes of faith.
See how God worked in their lives, understand the heights of their greatness as well as their lowest moments in life. What God did for each of them, God will do with you. You are not alone and you can be okay.
Clayton P. Adams, West Memphis, AR email: claytonp [email protected]
If you are not okay, admit it. Look beyond your circumstances and begin to know and believe that God is working in your life.