Mark Affleck

Today My Life Was Turned Upside Down—I was Devastated

March 9, 2017
Spiritual Growth

Well…last night, really, when I wrote this blog.
It was an unexpected rekindling of the most painful experience of my entire life. That’s not an overstatement…the truth, by a mile.
Here’s the good news from a good God.
After collecting myself, I remembered that fruit-of-the-spirit peace is not dependent on “everything going right.” That it is remaining tranquil through the chaotic slipstream of life. That it is being complete and fulfilled in Christ and trusting him to control every aspect of my life, in every circumstance.
Wow. I’m supposed to live that out right now?
You know the answer. Yes, indeed, especially right now.
So that’s what I did, starting with an embrace of God’s truth that his peace is not the absence of turmoil, but the presence of calm in its midst. When this event happened yesterday, God’s peace was right there because I’ve worked hard to trust him and soak my soul with his gladness.
Don’t get me wrong. It was, and still is, a very tough blow to absorb. But I learned again today that it IS possible.
Jesus, the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), referred to this fruit at the last supper when he said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
That was good enough for me. Even in the middle of being devastated.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
My Percolating Anger
You may be wondering what happened on day two of this trial after calling on the “peace fruit” of God’s spirit the day before to tamp down pain that had resurfaced from many years ago during the most difficult time of my life.
Well, a pretty cool thing…
A focus on another one of God’s fruits of the Spirit–forbearance—and a second test to see if I would follow God’s urging for me to live out Christ-like patience like I did yesterday with the peace fruit.
Here’s what happened.
Calling on the fruit of forbearance allowed God to fill a breach that was allowing anger to percolate up through my soul. It helped me be patient with my simmering feelings of negativity and let him take them away without me over-reacting. It led me to accept the suffering, even though I didn’t deserve it.
This had to be my reaction because Jesus teaches us to demonstrate patience and endure whatever injustice or betrayal others may inflict on us without demanding retribution. It is the ability to withstand the trials of life without expressing hostility and, instead, glorifying Christ. And that’s what God helped me do today.  
It makes sense, right? Our model for the “patience fruit” is Jesus who lived it out mightily, even during his painful death on the cross where he prayed for his tormentors.
What a blessing to have Christ’s model of peace and patience from his Word to take over our very being when we don’t stand even a scant chance of doing it on our own.

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