When our world comes crumbling down around us, how do we respond?
Curling up last night to watch the second series of Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias, I wasn’t expecting the emotions it bought up. Beginning with a hospital scene, following a car accident; I was touched by the opening line: “Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, neither life (nor) death…”
For those who haven’t seen the series; it follows the lives of three best friends in their late 30’s, nicknamed the Sweet Magnolias, and the ups and downs of life in a small town. It focuses on relationships, work and faith. Series two opened in a hospital waiting room, where the three women were waiting for news of their loved ones.
As the scene progressed, I watched with interest at the array of responses and emotions that we, as humans, have in that moment when it feels like our entire world is crumbling down around us. As parents, siblings and friends gathered in the waiting room, there were a variety of emotions. Some appeared to zone out, some were angry, worried, restless, or despairing. If you look deeper, you’ll find that all these responses are rooted in fear.
I wondered if my response would come out of a place of fear, or whether I would seek God’s peace in that moment.
It made me consider how I might respond. Would I rush to place blame? Might I question incessantly, trying to make sense of what happened and why? Would I look to friends and family for comfort and reassurance; or like one teen in the show, just sit down and bury my head in my hands? Would I let anger take over? I wondered if my response would come out of a place of fear, or whether I would seek God’s peace in that moment. I hope I would look to God; and like the Sweet Magnolias, join hands and pray, reciting God’s word over myself and the situation.
I remember what it’s like to have my world come crumbling down around me. It happened when I was 16 and my mum was diagnosed with cancer. I still remember that feeling. Everything was falling apart and I didn’t know what to do. There was nothing I could do. At the time I had a weak faith in God. It was enough to make me pray, a begging sort of prayer, for my mum’s life to be spared, but it was not enough to live through that period of my life in peace, faith and hope. Oh, how I wish I had. It would have been such a different experience. Instead, the worry, the stress and the fear, made me physically ill. We cannot always change our circumstances, but we can choose our response to them; and that response can make a huge difference.
It was enough to make me pray, a begging sort of prayer, for my mum’s life to be spared.
We were never meant to carry these heavy loads on our own. God created us to live in relationship with him and he tells us to give him our problems and receive his peace. We are not promised a life free of troubles. In fact, we are promised exactly the opposite. God tells us we will experience troubles, but he also assures us that we will never face them alone. His love, peace, hope and comfort are always available to us. Let’s remember when troubles come, to look to him and remind ourselves of his promises and presence.