Cover Story Good Advice Feature Video Hot Topics



 



Hot topic of the week


Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

What do YOU think?


Click here join in the discussion.

Web Bonus


Miranda Writes: Lifeís Curveballs




by Omar Miranda

What to do when you donít know what to do

“I don’t know what to do, Mr. M! I just don’t know what to do.” Sheri¹ sat in my office crying and screaming out of control. I jumped up and ran to close the door as the other counselor down the hall popped her head into my office only to see a crumpled mass of middle-school girl balled up on my couch surrounded by pillows and stuffed animals. I quickly responded, “We’re good,” and the other counselor closed my door to give us some privacy.

Sheri had just found out earlier that morning . . . on the way to school . . . via text message . . . from her older sister . . . that her parents were divorcing! So there Sheri sat, sullen, sad, shocked. “Everything is falling apart, Mr. M. I can’t believe this is happening. I mean, it’s like I’m living in a dream and I’m gonna wake up and it’s all gonna be OK . . . I just don’t know what to do.” Do you know what great counselory words of wisdom I had for her? None! I said absolutely nothing. What could I possibly say to her at that moment that could make her feel better—about her life as she knew it falling apart?

Have you ever been there? I mean, have you ever been the supportive friend or family member who’s had to try to put all the pieces back together after a huge life letdown? Has life thrown you a curveball? I mean something that just comes totally out of the blue. Hey, maybe right now you’re not the person who’s trying to support the “Sheri” in your life—maybe you’re the one who’s just had the wind knocked out of you! Gone through a breakup; family falling apart; had a bad doctor’s report; someone you love is in the hospital, about to die, or may have just died; failing a class; failing a semester; the list could go on and on. How do you deal with it? What are you supposed to do? Does the Bible have any answers for you, your family, and your friends that could help people know what to do when you don’t know what to do?

Over the next several weeks we’re going to be looking at what the Bible has to say about how to get through these tough times. The Bible shares lots of wonderful stories about love, life, hope, salvation, mercy, and grace, but it also shares lots of not-so-wonderful stories about loss, depression, death, deception . . . well, you get the not-so-pretty picture. The question is Why? Why doesn’t the Bible just have positive, uplifting stories? The simple answer is that life isn’t always that way. I mean, the moment Adam and Eve took a bite of the “forbidden fruit” and sinned, bad things started happening. We were immediately separated from a relationship with God by sin, and things have never been the same since. There were a lot of firsts in the Garden of Eden: first surgery, first marriage, first lie, first excuse, and the first death; after that, well, it all just went downhill pretty fast.

Jesus Himself said this about our experiences here on earth: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NLT).² Translation: If you’re a Christian and on the planet called Earth, you’re going to go through some really tough times. Peter says it like this in 1 Peter 4:12: “Dear friends, don’t be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing that is like walking through fire” (CEV).³
 
With that said, there are four really important things that I want you to understand before we get started with our study for the next several weeks. By the way, these points will act as larger themes for every story that we’ll look at during the next several weeks:

1. God is for you, not against you. He’s your biggest fan! He loves you and wants to spend eternity with you, and He wants to start having a relationship with you right now! God wants you to have a life filled with joy, peace, power, purpose. He’s got awesome things in store for you. John 3:16, 17 says: “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!” (CEV). John 10:10 says: “I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest” (CEV). And Jeremiah 29:11 says: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (NLT).

2. There’s nothing that happens to you that God hasn’t already known about, purposely planned, or actively allows. God knows what’s up. He’s all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present (I’m glad He’s on my side). King David wrote in Psalm 139:16: “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (NLT).

3. The devil hates you and is out to get you. I want you to understand that the devil would kill you if he had the opportunity. Peter had it right when he wrote in 1 Peter 5:8: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (NLT). Jesus, speaking to His opponents, said this in John 8:44: “Your father is the devil, and you do exactly what he wants. He has always been a murderer and a liar. There is nothing truthful about him. He speaks on his own, and everything he says is a lie. Not only is he a liar himself, but he is also the father of all lies” (CEV).

4. Not every bad thing that happens to you is because of God or the devil. Sometimes bad stuff happens as a consequence of a stupid choice that you make. Choices have consequences. For those of you who love math, here’s the equation: Good choices = good consequences, and bad choices = bad consequences. Paul warned in Galatians 6:7, 8: “You cannot fool God, so don’t make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant. If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life” (CEV).

Now that we’ve covered the basics of bad stuff, let’s jump right in to our first story. Next week we’ll take a look at what to do when God asks you to give up your dream!

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

¹ Not her real name.
² Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
³ Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.
 
Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.




 





Top | Home