DYING TO CONTROL: The 21st Century DilemmaSubscribe Now

Mike Ballman

Mike Ballman

You may have notice upon reading my Facebook page, visiting Cornerstone Community Church www.cornerstoneutica.com or spending more than twenty minutes with me, that not far beneath the surface of my warm and affable demeanor, there is an edge.  On good days it is a relatively smooth edge of clever irony and playful Shawn and Gus like snarkiness (if not familiar with this reference, I am sad for you and click here: http://www.usanetwork.com/series/psych/).  However, on bad days it is a sharp, cutting edge of sarcasm and anger.  What is this edge?

In a word, it is personal hurt. Ok, that is two words.  Dan Allender wrote in To Be Told that God redeems us through harm not from harm.   He goes on, “…One of the most troublesome of God’s characteristics is that he rarely takes away the messes of our lives.  But when things don’t make sense, either we conclude that God doesn’t know what he is doing or we try to soothe the ache by rationalizing the pain.  We sacrifice both our integrity and an opportunity for growth when we avoid suffering with cloying platitudes and trite aphorisms.  Allow yourself to sit in the grief and pain and to hope for the day when God’s presence with you in your tragedy becomes clear.  He can withstand both your grief and your anger…  When we experience tragedy, we see how suffering shapes our characters. God often uses our tragedies to give us compassion for others who suffer in the same way we have suffered.”

The hurt from the exile and abandonment Pam and I experienced through the death of our first son, Michael, and the long suffering of our youngest son, Noah, from affluent white evangelical Christians has left its marks on us.  Thankfully, through these experiences God has instilled a passion in us to love others who also feel exiled by church and society.  Things are finally starting to make sense.  One day I hope that more of my energy is focused  on loving those who are hurt and not taking swipes at those who hurt me.  But today it is about 50/50.

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