Gilland: Responding in faith to bad news

It seems to be happening more often than ever before…the phone rings, and I’m suddenly hearing a report that takes my breath away. And not in a good way either. That call might well have brought news of a dear friend that is now suddenly facing a life-changing diagnosis, or some other formidable obstacle.

It is one thing to read about or hear of people going through desperate times, but when it is someone in your own family, or a friend that is very close to you, it suddenly becomes painstakingly real. And it is never easy.

The people we’re interviewing as part of our April opioid awareness effort have received those calls—such as this week’s guest, MaryBeth Moore Zocco. In 2018, she received the unwelcome call that her son had overdosed.

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Not all of us have faced that particular kind of trauma, but we do face various trials in life. This should come as no surprise—because Jesus promised us that we would face many difficult trials, including persecution brought on as a result of faith in Him. Suffering is part of living. Not a part that we enjoy, or happily anticipate, but suffer we will. Such times have much to teach us.

I have found Psalm 112 to be an immense help in guiding me in those moments. The first six verses describe a righteous man, who believes and trusts in God and delights in His commandments.

Several great promises about such a person’s life are given in these verses. But verse 7 is the focal point for this column. It is the verse that helps me when I receive such a call. It is a trustworthy verse, worthy of memorization. From the English Standard Version:

“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.” (Ps. 112:7 ESV)

What hope—I can respond to bad news and not fear, trusting in God, knowing that He is holding my heart. I may be facing a crisis, but I am not facing it alone. He is right here.

And what should the disposition of my heart be while in the battle? God wants us to simply trust Him.

Hopefully, you are not having to face such circumstances in your life today. But if you are having to do that very thing, take fresh hope-and begin to meditate on this verse. It is good medicine for the soul. He is firmly holding your heart.

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