Last week was difficult, to say the least, as I found out Ric Lumbard, who is one of my all-time favorite church leaders, had suffered a heart attack. This was added to an already heavy heart, as I had recently heard that a dear sister in the faith was struggling mightily with depression. Also, just a couple hours before news of the heart attack reached me, someone from my young adult group at church requested prayer for someone in her life, who had just attempted suicide, while having two children below the age of six.
To compound matters, I was extremely sleep deprived, prior to hearing these things. Additionally, I had been somewhat stressed out recently because of work being relatively slow the past month and a half (I’m self-employed, so work being slow yields my not earning much money). For a moment or two (probably more), I began to feel extremely overwhelmed and thinking the weight of these things may crush me. The few days following consisted of my sleeping in late and taking long naps in the afternoon. Outside of spending considerable time in prayer and making it to the gym once, those days weren’t very productive, at all. Thankfully, I motivated myself just enough to make it down to Denver for CYA (Citypoint Young Adults, which is a church fellowship of which I am a part) on Friday night, as the worship, message, and time with church friends was encouraging, edifying, and fun.
On Sunday morning, I made it to fellowship with other believers, by the narrowest of margins. After not sleeping the best, I nearly elected to have church at Mount St. Mattress, but decided I would be best served my worshipping the King of Kings with my church family. I’m extremely glad I went, as the Spirit of the Lord moved incredibly during worship and the sermon was helpful. To top things off, I met a few new people and had lunch with an incredible man of God, who ministered to me significantly. To top things off, the Mexican food was very satisfying : )
Sometimes, making one or two good decisions can make a HUGE difference in overcoming challenging times. At other times, it may take more than that. Ultimately, we need to keep pressing on and we’ll eventually get through the valley.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about navigating difficult times you may find helpful:
- Focus your attention on where you are spiritually positioned. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3 NKJV). While we need to tend to things on earth, maintaining our heavenly gaze helps us to keep things in proper perspective. In addition, when we look to the creator of all things and remember how incredibly powerful He is and that He is aware of all our needs, our problems don’t seem quite as daunting.
- Pray. This piggybacks off of #1 and is equally important. We can’t expect to receive help from above if we don’t ask. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7 NKJV). I trust Jesus knows what He’s talking about. Also, as found in The Epistle of James, “You do not have because you do not ask [it of God].” (4:2b Amplified).
- Reach out to friends and family, as they care about you and in addition to listening and bearing your burden with you, they may also provide helpful advice and/or bits of wisdom. We aren’t designed to go through life alone and we need others at times. There is zero shame in not being able to do everything on your own.
- Exercise, do your best to get adequate rest, and try to maintain a healthy diet.
An Ode to Saint Ric
I try not to put people on pedestals, but Ric spent a significant amount of time on mine (I’ve since removed my pedestals). He is brilliant, eloquent, extremely wise, and one of the best teachers and leaders I’ve ever come across. His knowledge of The Bible and spiritual matters, along with knowledge in just about every other subject, is remarkable. Even more than these things, his commitment to prayer is phenomenal. To top that all off, he has been on the front lines in the fight against human trafficking and done an incredible amount to restore victims of trafficking back to health. I could go on and on about him, but to sum Ric up in a few words, he is a man after God’s heart. Please keep Ric in your prayers, as he has not yet regained consciousness.
Click here if you’d like to support the Lumbard family financially, as medical expenses, food, lodging, and travel are very costly.