HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN TO ME??: Making the best of things in the worst of times. (30 OCT 2016)

The goal of this article is to help readers deal with any upcoming difficulties, & is based upon life experience. This is a discussion for the general reader about the coming difficult days, & how spirituality may make the difference between success or failure. What do I mean when I discuss spirituality??? By spirituality, I mean your personal journey of inner growth where you connect with the divine Creator, connect with your inner self, connect with truth, and your fellowman and life in general. By spirituality, I am not referring to some religious institution with some pre-packaged truth & formal rituals–for that I would use the term religiosity or religion. By spirituality, I refer to those truths & connections that you yourself have entertained in your life. So this is a very personal intimate talk between you & me. So labels are irrelevant, as each person has their own spirituality, even if two people are in the same congregation.

WHAT VALUE IS THIS DISCUSSION?? First, danger, evil, & traumas are pervasive in life. Quite frankly, we are all going to face some. Next, people’s attitudes are much like iron, without heat & pressure they don’t change much. Unfortunately, it means if you are not prepared spiritually for disaster now, you probably won’t be when it comes. Yet if we wait for a crisis to think about our spirituality–we have not developed anything of value, and the crisis overwhelms us. I watched rich people (obviously weak in spirituality) who had never had it hard in life completely fall apart when they came to prison. Spirituality is a journey, a process. Athletes train for challenges, so should the rest of us. I have seen spirituality get people successfully through medical traumas that would kill most people. A marine who volunteered for the Korean War, who believed in ultimate victory, believed in the marines, believed in the cause, etc. survived the most brutal of circumstances that caused those lacking positive beliefs to give up & die. Like I say, our spirituality (incl. spiritual beliefs) may make the difference between future success or failure. And often as the saying goes, our problems if they don’t kill you, make you stronger. The reason being is that you may develop the beliefs & spirituality to deal with adversity. I say “may” because studies show that traumatic difficulties in life either make you closer or further away from God–just as difficulties in a marriage either bond the couple closer or split them.

WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF GOD & POSITIVE VALUES?? There are spiritual truths, just as there are principles for any sport or game, so simply embracing anything labeled spiritual could be a recipe for disaster. Some people just grab whatever they pass, a little of this and a little of that–no recipe of continuity or coherency–sort of like blindly cooking by throwing anything in sight together to cook. Their competing conflicting ideas cancel each other out. Can you articulate what you believe?…have you tested your beliefs in the crucible of real life? The purpose of focusing on the spiritual is to have a sense of harmony with life, a sense of how to heal, to find a sense of purpose to your life and see that life has meaning. It is to develop values such as honesty, fairness & hope. It is to learn how to pray. It is to grow in wisdom. Such a spiritual journey of growth does not happen overnight. To neglect the spiritual is like having a home with no smoke detector, no plan for dealing with a fire, and no way to contact a local fire department.

DISTRESS, ANXIETY, TRAUMA. There are a number of reactions that are easy to slip into when we are traumatized. We don’t automatically become saints just because problems hit us. For instance a common reaction is, “I am bad because bad things are happening.” Recently, I was encouraging one of my dear brothers-in-Christ, who had a number of organizations he had created fail; the failures made him feel like a failure. Trauma can cause a person to question his or her self-worth. Trauma can stifle spiritual growth by causing the person to remain in their survival part of the brain, and neglect the higher parts of the brain. It can destroy a person’s faith in God, and make a person feel helpless, powerless & afraid. By working through problems, a person develops self-sufficiency and hope…which are spiritual qualities. Take for instance, substance abuse. Many people have discovered that to work through the substance abuse, they had to develop spirituality. While AA is vague about what kind of spirituality one should embrace for help, I would suggest that not all spiritual paths are equal.

A SENSE OF SACRED. While your spiritual journey is your own, there is not time in life to learn all the wisdom the hard way…one should build upon the sages of old. So the wisdom of those who found it before us is important. In that way, the wisdom which religion has preserved for us can be beneficial. Hinduism has countless gods & goddesses; Kali, their mother goddess has a garland of skulls and fangs that are dripping with blood. Islam views women as chattel, something on the level of a hammer or wheelbarrow. Buddha taught there is no self. None of these religious systems appeal to me. I offer you Christ, following him has provided me over the long haul successful answers to life’s problems. But the journey to get wisdom & answers was bumpy. I had to go through lots to learn lots. When we get dumped into some hell hole–how to we call down heaven to transform & transcend our situation?? And that word transform is the key. If the spiritual path you are on does not transform you–you’re on a dead end path. So my friend, as we descend into the elite’s planned chaos, my questions to you are: Why are some people more hardy & resilient to traumatic difficulties, and what virtues give them the strength to endure nightmares that overwhelm others. People overcame the concentration camp horrors by finding meaning to life. I encourage you to seek the strength that God offers His people to go through the refining fires of tribulation. Be blessed.


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