John C. Parks
ITS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY
As part of a family of faith, WE should feel free and need to realize that we can be honest with God and with one another about just how difficult life can sometimes be. Some in the church hold the notion that it is important that we act like everything is just fine in our lives even when it is not. Many believe that we should smile a lot, act nice, and pretend that we never go through difficult times. Some suggest that we must pretend as if we are fine and okay with everything lest someone accuse us of having a weak faith or pitying ourselves. These thoughts are contrary to the bible. These thoughts are not truth. As Saints of God, the truth can makes us free (Ephesians 4:25).
Because of this mind-set of always being strong, we fail miserably in being true believers of Jesus Christ to those who suffer through some of the most difficult tragedies and sufferings. Even though we are taught to be strong, this is NOT the truth of the Bible. The scripture says to be strong in the Lord. (Ephesians 6:10). This scripture translates to find your strength in the Lord. Our role is to stand wearing the armor of God. This armor is protection by trusting the truths found in the word of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).
So many of the psalms we find in our Bibles are often overlooked because they are honest enough to say that sometimes things in life are not okay. In the midst a dark night of the soul in which we find ourselves, we must never tell one another to get over it, to simply ignore these situations. There are days which we must quit pretending and simply weep. The good news is because of the love of God, the weeping only endures for a moment (Psalms 30:5).
However, it is out of our wounded hearts that God has us serve and help others in their own journeys toward healing. Unfortunately, many of us still have a difficult time accepting our pain. When asked how we are, we choose to bury our feelings, put on a fake smile, and pretend that everything’s fine. A stain-glassed masquerade. Maybe it is because we are afraid of being judged, or maybe it is because Christians see sadness as a moral failing. What is clear is that bottling our sorrow never made someone spiritually healthy. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus showed us His weakness and not being okay with going to the cross. (St. Luke 22:42-44).
The beauty of the gospel is that power comes via weakness. Let us commit to not only being faithful but truthful when it comes to our suffering, because you never know who might benefit from hearing your story. As Paul wrote, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”(2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV).
It’s okay to not be okay. The truth is being not okay in rare moments is spiritually healthy. It is only being not okay all the time that becomes a problem with God (Hebrews 11:6).
John C. Parks, Th.D., BS, MBA, ESPO
April 14, 2021