Reality and Response

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

A tornado swept through Wetumpka, Alabama recently. I spent 5 years of my life as a child in Wetumpka. We lived one block from where the tornado destroyed the Presbyterian church and badly damaged the Baptist Church. A lot of people are asking the question as to how do you deal with this.

I believe there are two things involved – the Reality and the Response. The reality is that a tornado hit Wetumpka and destroyed much property. You can spend a lot of time discussing why this happened, why these churches and particular homes were hit, why no one lost their lives – the discussions can be endless. I don’t know the answer to those questions. I do know there is a reality that the tornado did hit. Tornados come like cancer, like an accident – those things really have no answers. I think we have to accept the reality of their existence.

More important is the response to that reality. We have no control over the reality and its circumstances – we should have complete control over our response to it. I believe that how we respond is more important than the reality itself. Wetumpka is making a positive response that is greater than the reality of the devastation!

As a Pastor I’ve had to walk with people through some very tough times. A good response can bring healing and hope for the future. Paul said, “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I don’t understand all that that entails, but I do understand how a lot of people have discovered that it’s the best way to respond to all situations. You have a choice – a fear response or a faith response.

Part of our response is prayer. How we pray is extremely important. Prayer is not trying to bend God’s will to our will, but rather bending our will to His will. He knows what is best. He is our heavenly Father. Faith means that we trust God as He answers our prayers.

This was beautifully demonstrated to me recently when I received an e-mail from a young friend who has a brain tumor and was sent to Birmingham for further tests and treatments. The brain tumor is a reality – his response is priceless!!

He writes, “I sincerely mean this when I say that the foremost prayer that I would ask each of you to join me in is that God would be honored and glorified in how I respond to whatever the diagnosis/prognosis is. If it’s a miracle, then praise the Lord. If I have to have surgery, then praise the Lord. If according to His will, He should take me home now rather than 50 years from now, then praise the Lord. I know that I am in His hands, and I know that NOTHING shall separate me from His love.”

“My other prayer request is that our Heavenly Father would strengthen my family. As I have told you before, my parents—both of whom love the Lord deeply—have lost 2 sons, so this is a tough time for them. Please pray that God would give them, as well as my sisters, sister-in-law, nieces, and nephews a real peace and joy about this situation. God has blessed us immensely as a family, and may we take time to rejoice in that blessing.” Wow! Now that’s a great response to a tough reality!

How do we respond to the realities of life?

Concede the Reality – Choose your Response


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