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Tag Archives: overcoming trials

Before Anything Gets Lost It Becomes Loose

Initial signs that there may be something wrong in your life are subtle. Normal wear and tear may result in an occasional squeak or rattle. These vague warning signals may be ignored if time constraints, exhaustion or pressure exists. Unless routine maintenance is performed, cars, possessions, relationships and souls will continue to deteriorate. If no action is taken, things will become loose, fall off and get lost if neglected.

So he went with them; and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down [some of] the trees. But it happened that as one was cutting down a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Oh no, my master! It was borrowed!” – 2 Kings 6:4-5

In the Old Testament, a servant of Elisha began to chomp down some trees along the banks of the Jordan River. The sound of each power HACK, one after another drowned out any hint that this axe was about to break. Borrowed from a neighbor, this servant wasn’t treating this tool in a malicious manner. Rather, the thought of clearing a small section of woods next to the river brought on adrenaline to get this job done as soon as possible.

The man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut off a stick and threw it in there, and made the iron [axe head] float. He said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out with his hand and took it, 2 Kings 6:6-7.

Nobody knows the exact time or place when one of your possessions will break. In a span of a few weeks, two cars that I was driving broke down on three different occasions, the last on Interstate 95 this year. How you respond to these unfortunate events will reveal your true character. The only description of this servant in the passage above is a man of God. Instead of complaining, this man immediately turned to prayer and a prophet for help. In an instant, that which was lost is found. May this blog awaken you to the principle before something gets lost it becomes loose.

by Jay Mankus

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When God Allows Your Life to be Turned Upside Down

After two weeks of tests, everything was set for my cataract surgery this morning.   While a routine physical revealed high blood pressure, two days ago my latest reading was 130 over 80.  Perhaps, I became a little complacent, throwing a pizza party for my department Wednesday night.  When I reached preop, the nurse was unsettled by my blood pressure, most likely due to the sodium in the 4 slices of pizza I eat the night before.  Additional tests didn’t improve, only escalating my stress level.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, James 1:2-4.

I spent the next 30 minutes waiting as physicians came in and out of my room.  For a few moments, I felt like I was part of a drama on television, the patient who passes away.  I should have seen this coming as the woman at the front desk asked, “do you have a living will and testament with you?”  To make matters worse one nurse began to lecture me, interrupting me each time I tried to respond.  “You need to eat better, take this serious, see a cardiologist.”  This exchange only worsened my condition.  Thus, my surgery was cancelled, recommending that I go directly to the emergency room.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

Working on 8 hours of sleep over the past 4 days, 72 hours, I opted to go home and sleep.  Meanwhile, my wife stayed home from work in case I needed to be rushed to the hospital.  As for now, I have been put back on high blood pressure medication until further notice.  The surgery has been postponed until January, requiring visits to my primary doctor and cardiologist before my surgeon will give the thumbs up.  As for now, carbs, soda and unhealthy foods are out.  I’m not sure how my body is going to adjust, but if I want to see my children grow up changes must be made now.  I’m not sure why I have to endure this trial now, bot God allows lives to be turned upside down to prepare individuals for the future.

by Jay Mankus

The Unusual Path to Success

During a sleepless night off, I began channeling surfing to find something entertaining.  Using the scroll down future, I found a show entitled Finding Success Through Failure.  Hosted by John Stossel, this Fox Business Channel program examined unusual beginnings of famous companies.  For example, following a forty dollar fine for forgetting to return a video to the store, the concept to Netflix was born.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

For those entrepreneurs who fail multiple times, Stossel interviewed a couple of guests who honed in on grasping what went wrong during failed ventures.  These people go through a purification process using trial and error as a teaching aide.  Meanwhile, the spoiled, unprepared and weak often quit at the first sign of adversity.  Real life is not a fairy tale.  Rather, there are usually several road blocks, directional arrows and u-turns along the way before you arrive at the dream job.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, James 1:2-4.

When life throws you a curve ball, sometimes you have to reinvent yourself.  Five years ago I had aspirations of becoming a college professor, starting at a new community college.  When that plan was thwarted, I went into survival mode, throwing things up in the air to see what stuck.  Although I have found a home at Amazon for now, I believe I have what it takes to write movie scripts.  While I may not get to the career my choice, I’m ready to take the unusual path to success wherever it takes me.

by Jay Mankus

After You Fail A Test

Nobody likes to funk a test.  Sometimes you don’t understand a topic.  Perhaps, you missed time from class, feeling lost upon your return.  Whatever the scenario, tests reveal where you are, what you know and what you need to do to get where you want to be in life.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, James 1:2-4.

A few weeks ago I took a test following my eye surgery.  To my surprise, vision in both of my eyes diminished to the point that I could read any of the letters on the first and easiest line.  Shocked by these results, I realized that a lack of sleep was contributing to my poor vision.  Subsequently, I altered my schedule to rest my eyes as much as possible.  After today’s examination I regained full vision in my left eye and improved slightly in my surgically repaired eye.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him, James 1:22.

I don’t what the future holds for my vision.  God willing I will be able to complete the 3 movie scripts that I am working on while I can still see.  My goal is to sell these to Hollywood and retire with plans to write one script per year.  Yet, for now I must remain steadfast, trusting in the Lord during these days of adversity.  Whatever the outcome, even if it means failing a test along the way, strive to receive the crown of life promised in the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

 

Faith vs. Science

When my son was admitted to A.I. Dupont Children’s Hospital in early August, my faith was put to the test.  After Daniel’s diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes, there is a set of requirements made by doctors and staff for parents which must be met prior to releasing your child.  Beside viewing a series of videos, parents must meet with a nutritionist, psychologist and social worker.  During my final conversation, I was asked about how I was doing.  My response,”it is what it is.”

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

What I meant is that my heart is holding out hope that Daniel’s pancreas will be supernaturally restored to its previous working condition.  Yet, statistics suggest there is only a three percent chance of this miracle occurring.  Subsequently, I am wrestling with what could be through the power of prayer and what is based upon science.  As a believer I don’t want to ignore past answered prayers, but I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment with the odds of healing stacked against me.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, Hebrews 11:1.

One of Hollywood’s best examples of this dilemma can be found in an episode from Lost entitled Man of Science, Man of Faith.  In the season 2 debut, Dr. Jack Shepherd has a flash back of a previous surgery.  A woman named Claire is being prepped for major back surgery following a car accident.  Talking with her fiancee, Jack is bluntly honest suggesting there is little hope of ever being able to walk again, likely paralyzed for the rest of her life.  However, upon examination of Claire after the surgery, Jack realizes that science lost and faith won.  Whatever trial stands in your way, may the power of the Holy Spirit lift you up as you await answers to your concerns and troubles in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

All Out of Sorts

Sort isn’t one of the sexiest words in the English language.  Yet, its synonyms reveal a wide array of meanings.  Arrange, categorize and grouping items enables individuals to bring order to their lives.  However, it doesn’t take much until complacency, laziness or unexpected trials leaves you all out of sorts.

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 1 Corinthians 14:33.

After my son was rushed to the hospital last Tuesday, my routine schedule was thrown out the window.  One week later, dazed, exhausted and in dire need of sleep, I find myself hanging by a thread.  All out of sorts, I’m trying to leave the land of confusion for the peace promised in the Bible.

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves, Romans 15:1.

During a visit to the church of Corinth, Paul witnessed several believers all out of sorts.  Subsequently, Paul called on godly leaders to be patient with those failing in their faith.  While its nice to have others focused on your own well being, hurting individuals receive much more by serving others.  Therefore, despite your current situation, reach out to someone less fortunate to help the body of Christ heal.

by Jay Mankus

Finding Treasures in Darkness

In the midst of a storm, darkness prevents most individuals from seeing any meaning or purpose in trials.  Instead of reflection, anguish, bitterness and resentment are common responses.  Yet, in my most recent period a pleasant surprise arrived in the form of a special friendship.  After both losing our jobs a month apart, God allowed each of us console one another, finding a treasure in darkness.

I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name, Isaiah 45:3.

In the famous poem simply known as Footprints, the author writes about periods in life where God carries you.  Walking along a beach, the Lord’s footprints disappear as each waves comes crashing into shore.  Yet, somehow, someway, most survive to see another day, hoping darkness will fade.  Job learned this the hard way as he friends began to question his faith, suggesting God was punishing him for something he had done in the past.

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold, Job 23:10.

As you walk through moments of darkness alone, people tend to choose temporary distractions to numb the pain inside their heart.  Nonetheless, the weaker you get, the easier it becomes to trust in an invisible God.  When there is no one else to lean on, faith is refined, smelting the impurities.  However, if you hang on long enough like Job, you will experience God’s divine providence in the form of treasures in darkness.

by Jay Mankus

 

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