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Tag Archives: disappointment

When Life is Cruel and Unfair

The title of Clint Eastwood’s classic western film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly provides a much more accurate assessment of life than I initially thought.  In this context, the good symbolizes blessings, fruits of hard work, rewards, success and victories in life.  Meanwhile, the bad includes accidents, disappointment, failure, injuries, setbacks and unforeseen events.  Ugly represents examples of when life is cruel and unfair, taking the forms of curses, demonic influences and generational sins.

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, Exodus 20:5.

On my first day back to work following bereavement for my father in law’s funeral, I received more bad news.  One of my co-workers Dominic, suffered a brain aneurism on one of his day’s off.  Dominic is one of those people you enjoy interacting with, engaging, friendly, kind and at times longwinded.  Nonetheless, Dominic had just received a promotion, relocating to a new building in Maryland.  His future looked bright until a severe brain aneurism has left Dominic on the verge of death.  For a young man with a girl friend and the rest of his life in front of him, this fate doesn’t seem fair.

However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:  Deuteronomy 28:15.

The only way to explain this tragedy and similar heart breaking stories can be found in the ten commandments, specifically Exodus 20:5.  Moses reflects upon this biblical truth within an entire chapter in Deuteronomy.  Moses spends the first 14 verses of chapter 28 highlighting signs of God’s blessings.  The remaining 54 verses uncover hints of curses and or consequences of generational sins.  Due to the extent of details shared within this chapter of the Bible, it’s safe to say more curses exist than blessings.  Subsequently, people shouldn’t be surprised by examples of when life is cruel and unfair.  In view of this harsh reality, it’s essential to live each day on earth like it’s your last, assuring and preparing yourself for life beyond this world, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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Pressing On

Sometimes life can resemble a Little League Baseball game.  You get off to a great start, feed off of momentum and develop a big lead.  Just as you are about to taste victory, a bad break halts your progress.  One thing leads to another resulting in an avalanche of disappointment.  Before you know, the tables are turned as you find yourself on the losing side.  At some point, you have to pick your head up, shake it off and press on to see another day.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1.

If your life was transposed on to a graph chart, there would be a series of peaks and valleys.  As individuals experience various phases in life, beliefs, practices and values may change.  Such is the case of Rock star Bob Dylan who began to search for meaning in life during the late 1970’s.  This journey spawned the album Slow Train Coming, a reflection of his encounter with God.  One of the singles Dylan created was entitled Pressing On, a prayer for those struggling to press on in this life.

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path, Matthew 13:19.

Unfortunately, many who begin a relationship with God often end up falling away.  According to the passage above, Satan is the force that stops people from pressing on.  Centuries earlier, King Solomon urged the nation of Israel to guard their hearts, Proverbs 4:23.  The apostle Paul takes this concept one step further by taking your thoughts captive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  If you truly want to persevere following setbacks in life, take this biblical advice so that you will press on.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Audition

When you are young, people often try new things to see if it’s something worth pursuing in the future.  Well, my acting career was a short blimp on the radar screen.  I tried out for my high school musical during my junior year.  Hoping to earn a part in West Side Story, I knew my chances were slim after I heard one of the judges whisper, “there’s always the stage crew.”  While this audition ended in disappointment, life is full of auditions.

And thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, Romans 15:20.

Following his conversion to Christ, Saul from Tarsus radically changed his priorities.  After a time of soul searching, this former religious zealot auditioned to become an apostle.  Initially rejected by the 11 remaining disciples, Saul changed his name to Paul before teaming up with Barnabas for a few successful missionary journeys.  Paul’s ambition to share the good news about Jesus Christ won his skeptics over through an unswerving faith.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them, ” Matthew 25:19.

According to the Parable of the Talents, each day serves as an audition for heaven.  On Judgement Day, Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead.  This audition is based upon how often and well you maximize the gifts God has given you.  In modern terms, the Lord is searching for individuals who seize each day, making the most of each opportunity.  Although there will be days lost and squandered due to selfish desires, it’s essential to try and try again.  May this blog inspire you to be prepared for the audition called life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

For Those Who Wait It Out

As I look back on my life, one disturbing pattern exists.  When I failed to reach a goal, rejected by a company or cut by a sports team, I changed course.  Trying to rebound quickly, I altered my dreams in life to avoid further disappointment  Sure, this made me feel better momentarily, yet I regret not sticking it out longer to see if I could have achieved my desired destination.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him, Lamentations 3:25.

The group Firefight sings about this topic in the song For Those Who Wait.  The attached video illustrates a natural response to failure, quitting.  Yet, the lyrics point to the reward for those who hang in there despite not succeeding on your first attempt.  This is where rationale thoughts wrestle with faith.  While some may never taste success, perseverance shapes character and will prepare you for future opportunities in this life.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! – Psalm 27:14

If you are like me, sharing dreams with family and friends can be frustrating.  Responses like don’t quit your day job and don’t get your hopes up are typical.  Meanwhile, those who don’t comment roll their eyes or mutter “yeah right.”  This vision that you paint for others doesn’t fit their current perception of you.  Thus, you have one of two options.  Think about what might have been or step out in faith by toughing it out like those who wait?  I pray that you choose the latter.  Take courage as you wait on the Lord to open the next door in your life.

by Jay Mankus

Is There Anybody Out There?

I heard a depressing conversation this week.  A woman called into a talk show to discuss her nightmare experience with healthcare.  This woman talked about a company who promised her full coverage if she was willing to move to the west coast.  After believing every spoken word and following through with this relocation, promises began to be broken.  Formerly a religious woman, she cried out to God hoping to be saved from further disappointment.  Day after day these prayers went unanswered, wondering “what’s the point if there’s nobody out there?”

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly, Psalm 5:3.

At the end of this phone call, this woman revealed that she stopped praying, giving up hope that God could change her situation,  Unfortunately, too many people know the pain of unfulfilled prayer requests.  When heaven is silent or signs of help do not arise, it’s hard to press on.  Talking to an invisible God requires faith, persistence and a strong will to carry on.  Yet, there will always be those who give up before a miracle is delivered.

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer, Psalm 4:1.

The Psalmist had his own struggles with waiting on God to intervene.  Based upon the words chosen. it appears Solomon throw his hands up in frustration wondering, “is there anyone out there?”  While technology continues to advance, waiting on God remains the same, a long and trying road.  Therefore, the next time you begin to panic when a prayer goes unanswered, let go and trust the Holy Spirit to lead you where God wants you to go.

by Jay Mankus

Remember Where You Came From

Whether your life has turned out to be a success, disappointment or some where in between, its always important to remember where you came from.  Depending upon how you were raised, you’ve likely developed stereotypes about certain occupations, places or people.  Over time these views will either be reinforced or shattered.  Whatever happens make sure you remain humble so you don’t miss out on meeting special people.

For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; Galatians 1:13.

Paul was a religious zealot who initially persecuted and gave the order to kill the apostle Stephen.  Thus, after his conversion to Christ many were hesitant to believe his faith was real.  This backlash inspired Galatians 1, a summary of his testimony.  It wasn’t until Paul began his missionary journeys when fellow Christians began to accept and embrace him as a genuine believer.

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, Galatians 1:15.

While my past isn’t as radical as Paul, I still have issues to overcome.  Years of stuttering stunted my communication skills and ability to draw close to others.  Periods of depression still cause me to withdraw at times, wandering away from the people I love.  Yet, because of God’s grace, I have hope for the future.  Despite my own imperfections, God sent His one and only Son to die for my sins.  Therefore, don’t let the sun go down without accepting God’s free gift of eternal life.  When you remember where you came from, you will likely find a sinner saved by God’s grace.

by Jay Mankus

The Role of Failure in Life

Within a 48 hour period, my son Daniel experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  Last Saturday he placed 5th in the state in Pole Vault earning St. Georges four points.  After the final event, his school won the state track title by three points.  On Monday, playing in an qualifier for the state golf tournament, Daniel fell 7 shots short.  A few bad holes led to his demise.

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.

The apostle Paul writes about the role of failure in life.  Disappointment serves as teachable moments.  Failure allows suffering to change your perspective on life.  If you deal with this in a mature manner, character is developed.  If not fits of rage will likely follow.  Each failure you endure allows growth to take shape.  However, it only depends upon how you respond.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever, Psalm 73:26.

No matter what you tell a younger generation, sometimes you have to let people learn the hard way.  You can only hold someone’s hand so long.  Eventually, you have to let the people you love sink or swim.  Shielding children from failure will only hurt in the long run.  Therefore, let go and let God use trials to strengthen the people you love.

by Jay Mankus