I Am Not OK, OK?

Michael Card is no ordinary musician. He is one of that rare breed that is able to write songs that please the ear and feed the soul, his lyrics are as brilliant as the melodies that carry them. Michael is going to be performing at Fellowship on Friday night as the featured performer at the annual banquet for Mission to Missionaries. He will return to Jackson in November to be the guest speaker at our annual Bible Conference. Too much of a good thing is wonderful.

A couple of months back, I was given a book that was authored by Michael. “A Sacred Sorrow” reminds us of the importance of lament in the Christian experience.  Throughout the Scriptures, men and women have poured out their sorrow to God with raw, honest emotion, and in every circumstance their tears moved God. Such honest worship is less common in the contemporary, American church—I know it’s uncommon in my life!  I am inclined to be stoic in my suffering, as though my fears and grief’s threaten my faith and insult my God. I choose to be ok, even when I am not.

Michael reflects on this tendency and invites us to drop the charade:

“…we grew up trying to control our tears and trying to help others control theirs, thinking in the midst of it all sometimes that we might even be able to control the pain. All our ulcers and neuroses unfold as an inescapable consequence. That single pathway through it all, the path of lament, became overgrown, lost, left off all our maps.

            The bottom line: We are all born into a world we were not really made to inhabit. We were created for God, made to flourish in the comfort of the Presence of our Father within the warm context of His undeniable hesed. Now, in the fallen world, we are cut off from them both. Only the loving sovereignty of all-wise God could redeem such a hopeless situation. His solution? To use suffering to save us. To redeem our own suffering and most significantly to redeem all mankind, through His own suffering on the cross to pay the price for our sin. In order to turn around and move once more in the direction of God, we must find this path He has carved out. We must call out to Him in the language He has provided. We must regain the tearful trail. We must relearn lament.”

I am not always ok. I have seasons when the circumstances of life suffocate my happiness. And then there are those inexplicable times, when my soul is heavy without any good reason. I grieve, I hurt, and I am not ok. In times like these I must “cry out” and “pour out my heart like water before the Lord” (Lamentations 2:19a). You must too. We need to learn to be ok with not being ok.

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6 thoughts on “I Am Not OK, OK?

  1. What a timely entry into your blog Eugene! And I don’t say this because of the MTM concert with Michael Card this Friday (as great as that’s going to be!), but because I find myself in one of those “not OK” moments in my life because of a circumstance I have no control over. God is good and your blog entry encouraged me!

  2. I have come to treasure some of my ‘not ok’ periods… . In those often windowless, airless times I have learned to treasure His fresh and holy presence in ways not obvious in the normal times. I can remember that where He was in the past, He will also be in the future. It brings me comfort and hope.

  3. Eugene, thanks for sharing this post — it IS normal to NOT BE OK and where most Christians fail one another is when we DON’T share our burdens and worries with one another. We tend to be stoic in terms of asking how others are they are doing, letting others know they can talk to us, actually stopping to listen, praying for them, talking to them, literally helping them and following up with them. I am thankful for those who ask the question, stop to listen and actually take the time to care for and counsel others in their times of need. As Christians we all need to be someone who actually stops to listen to the laments of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and someone who will share the burden and encourage.

  4. I am finding that in this season of my life, in which I am not OK, God is moving in a great and mighty way! He is surrounding me with Christian folks that I can soon call friends. And in my suffering I am finding great joy!! Praise be to the Almighty God!!!

  5. Very recently I finished a book by John Eldridge titled “Desire: the journey we must take to find the life God offers” which delves into the essence of what Michael Card was saying and what this blog is saying. We live with a desire for something more, which we cannot fill in this world. We were created by God for paradise, and our souls long for that future. To desire something better is not a crime or a sin, but a most natural reaction to our fallen situation. To stoically claim, however, that we do not desire or hurt is not letting us live, but preventing us from living.

  6. A book called “I’m OK, You’re OK” used to be popular. Someone commented that the title should be “I’m Not OK and You’re Not OK, But That’s OK.” Too many Christians are willing to acknowledge someone else’s pain immediately after a tragedy, but then they want that person to “get over it.” Their time for grieving has expired. We may be ok with ourselves not being ok, but are we not ok with others who can’t seem to move along fast enough. We imply that their faith is weak and that are not trusting in God because they still hurt. There is no time limit on grief or suffering. So, in addition to learning to be ok with our own selves not being ok, let’s learn to be ok with others who aren’t ok. Ok?

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