October seems to always be a high pain month, probably because it’s when the weather turns cold. It was three years ago this month that I first got sick. At that point I knew that something was wrong with my body, but I didn’t know it would be forever. Every day for the last three years I have been in pain (to one degree or another). Of course, by now it has become “normal”. Whereas I struggled every day in the beginning, I manage fine most of the time and it’s only the really bad days that knock me off my feet.
Unfortunately these last few weeks has been full of hard days. It’s been high stress all around lately and the fact that we haven’t slept through the night in two and a half months doesn’t necessarily help. Life just feels hard.
These days enveloped in pain remind me that this earth isn’t my final home; that this wasn’t God’s original plan for the world. Why am I so quick to forget this? God intended for us to live in a Genesis 2 world, free from sin and pain. Instead we feel the weight that the Genesis 3 curse has left. While we train our eyes to look for beauty and find joy in every day, we can’t help but recognize that the world is still broken.
I am left searching and unsatisfied by this world. But I have hope in a life yet to come where ‘my faith will be my eyes’ and I will be whole and healed.
“Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and positively broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.”
The Four Loves
I feel like the further along in life I get, the more I resonate with this quote. Love is risky, but love it worth it.
Dr. Michael D. Sedler’s book When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up is best summarized by a quote found on page 137. He writes, “Silence. Speaking up. Both change destinies. When we use these tools inappropriately, we can do great harm. And when we use them as God intended, we can change our world for the better.”
This book contains ten chapters. Sedler shares many personal stories throughout, which help to engage the reader. Clearly shown is the important of both silence and speech as well as the danger in using either at the wrong time. Sedler strongly encourages the reader to examine their motives carefully and warns readers to be careful not to justify ungodly motives.
Throughout the book, Sedler provides clear steps to apply his teaching, which results in many numbered lists or bullet points (perhaps too many). Overall, Sedler has many wise insights into relationships and he shows the value in knowing when to speak and when to keep silence, a trait which is difficult to master. He draws from real life situations as well sometimes sharing personal interactions with his children and other times relaying stories from his professional life. Each chapter ends with “One Final Thought” (a summary paragraph) and usually has a couple discussion/application questions as well. While this is an important topic, by the end of the book some points seemed redundant and it was easy to start to skim the pages when the material seemed familiar.
Sedler peppers his writing with biblical examples in order to demonstrate how the principles he is writing about are seen in Scripture. While this is generally a good idea, there were times when the biblical examples seemed forced. One such example is found on page 76 where Sedler shares the exchange between Mordecai and Haman (from Esther 5). Sedler’s conclusion is that Haman was hanged on the gallows built for Mordecai because God was honoring Mordecai’s faithfulness for not bowing down to Haman. However, the Bible never says that Mordecai refused to bow out of reverence for God – more than likely it was simply to spite Haman due to their ancestral strife. Backing up teaching with Scriptural examples is a noble desire, however there were times throughout this book where Sedler seemed to strain the biblical text in order to make it fit with his point.
**Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher (Chosen Books) in exchange for an honest review.