On page 97, Dr. Larry Crabb opens this chapter up by stating for us the truth that we don’t feel like admitting to ourselves:
Most of us cope with life by pretending. We pretend that what we have satisfies more than it does. And we pretend we haven’t been hurt as badly as we have. The Biblical instruction not to complain is more easily obeyed when we refuse to face what is disappointing and painful in our life. And yet I’m suggesting we take a look at precisely those things about life that provoke complaint.
How true. We end up dealing with what is, too often, the most simplest ways in order to deal with personal problems because we refuse to have the potential of being hurt.
Dr. Crabb writes,
Even a glance in the direction of discouragement and fear violates our idea of what a victorious Christian should be doing. Many people have been trained in conservative churches and Christian families to deny that they hurt. … We all have a tendency to keep safely distant from each other’s feelings. To deal with what’s really going on inside is disturbing, too uncomfortable; so we hide the inside truth from others–from ourselves. (pg. 98)
He goes onto say,
A focus on the heartaches of life can be grim business, leaving us cynical, depressed, and unmotivated. That’s a clear danger of an inside look. (page 98)
Feeling like you don’t want to go on reading this so far depressing truth? By far, this was the toughest book for me to personally read as he writes,
And pain disrupts life. It can rob us of sleep; it sometimes triggers harsh responses from people we love; it tends to drive us toward immediate relief and away from responsibility. When I feel bad I’m more tempted to watch television than to help my wife with housework. … Why, then, take a inside look? … If the only effect of becoming aware of our thirst is to heighten our misery, then it’s stupid and wrong to look inside. On the other hand, if an awareness of our thirst is the beginning of closer fellowship with God (at whose right hand are abundant pleasures), then it makes sense. It is worth whatever temporary pain is stirred up, no matter how untemporary or severe the pain might seem. (pages 98-99)
Through a series of personal disappointments throughout my whole life, I have found this to be true as 1 Peter 2:21 puts it,
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you may walk in His steps. (ESV)
He closes the chapter saying,
Change from the inside out begins with an awareness of our thirst. (page 120)
For Jesus Christ says Himself that He is living water (John 4:1-26).
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