Part One

Life is tough, there is no doubt about it.  Ask anybody, and they will be able to tell you stories of heartaches and difficulties of life that they have had to go through.  And how about you?  Has there been a death, or a divorce in your family recently?  Has the downturn in the economy hit you square in the face and knocked you down?  How is your health?  Are you fighting a battle against a disease like I am, or have had a serious accident or injury?  Is there relational turmoil and war going on between you and a loved one?  Have you been betrayed by a friend or a colleague?

Any one of these areas that may be hitting you negatively can cause you to feel like God is not listening to your prayers, that He has abandoned you, and you are left alone in a wilderness from which it seems that you can find no way out.  Well, believe me, I can empathize with you as I too have been through, and am still going through my own desert experiences in life.

In today’s article though, I do not want to focus in on these difficulties.  Often, that can be counter productive as it can make a person more depressed than before, rather than be of any great help.  And I also do not want to talk for any length of time about the “why” that many people ask as to how we got into this terrible place.  No, I want to explore much more about the “how”, or what can we do, to get through this wilderness experience.

Mark Atteberry, author of “Walking with God on the Road You Never Wanted to Travel”, has done an excellent job of providing a road map to help guide us through and out of our difficult experiences of life.  He shares in his Introduction of the book about a time when he didn’t know what to say to someone whose wife had just died.  And much later he realized what he could have done differently.  He says:

I now realize that I was making a simple but common mistake.  I was looking for a way to explain why such terrible things were happening to him, when I should have simply offered a few ideas on how he could face the future.  You see, the whys of life are often out of our reach.  I’m convinced that only eternity will unlock all of their mysteries.  But the hows are a different story.  The Bible is chock-full of hows.    (pg. xiii)

I just recently finished reading this book and it has been a tremendous blessing to me.  I would recommend to any person who is going through a difficult time to get a copy of this book and see how the strategies that Atteberry lays out in his thirteen chapters could very well unlock the answers that person has been seeking for as to how to deal with the current crisis he or she is experiencing.

In fact, I have been so impressed by this book, that I am planning to write a short article every second week here in The Listening Post to summarize a few key points from each chapter.  Mr. Atteberry has been so kind to grant me permission to quote from his book, and in his own words he said to me, “I am happy for you to use the book in whatever way you think might be helpful to people.  I would never want to put any limitations on what God might be trying to do.”

So thank you Mark, for being used by God to write encouraging words to all of us who are walking a hard-road journey.  And thank you for allowing me to share your insights with my audience of readers.  I hope to weave part of my life story around the principles you lay out for us in your book.  Perhaps my readers will take these articles and pass them on to others who need encouragement, and so together, your words and mine will be just what someone needed to hear for that day.

So folks, be watching for new articles every second Saturday that I pray will give you hope as you walk along on your road of difficult times.  But please know this, you are never, ever really alone.  God is there, whether you can see Him or not.  And now, with these articles, you have a fellow hard-road traveler with whom you can identify and share your experiences with.  (Please do feel free to reply back to me on the bottom of this or any other article.)

May God bless you richly through Christ Jesus our Lord.