I believe this is a proceeding word for some of you who are reading this. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We all need a “now word” for what we are facing, and I am hearing this teaching will give insight for many of your seasons or for someone you are connected to.
Here is a truth: Sometimes things get worse before they get better. What at first seems very negative and painful actually becomes the catalyst for a breakthrough. It could be a relational or personal blowup like:
- An argument or relational breakdown
- Getting fired
- Exposure of sin
- Hitting burnout
- A failure of leadership
- Getting arrested
- Anxiety attacks or nervous breakdowns
- Financial crisis
I have seen blowups or crises in personal lives, family, church, business, and in friendships which ultimately brought about much good. I don’t believe it is God’s “Plan A” for us to go through a painful experience in order to grow, but He can use it powerfully because:
- It brings issues to the surface that need to be discussed and addressed – If we are ignoring or blind to our dysfunction, a blowup like those listed above will make it nearly impossible not to address it. For example, if I receive a negative and serious doctor’s report that is caused by my poor eating habits, I will almost assuredly be motivated by this news to address the dysfunction in my eating.
- It often creates godly sorrow – The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 5 addressed the church there about a man’s blatant sin. It was a painful experience for the man and the church. Later Paul comments on the positive benefits of the church crisis. “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). The church became healthier after the big problem.
- It creates conversation about what needs to be talked about – Many crucial conversations are avoided because of fear, busyness, or a desire to keep the peace in homes or other environments. If we won’t talk proactively, then we will eventually talk reactively. This again is not the best pattern to follow, but relational breakdowns often force us to talk about the key issues of a relationship (and increases the likelihood that dysfunctional habits such as enablement and codependency will be broken).
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). God is so good at turning negatives into positives that some have created doctrines that He sent the negative circumstance to teach them a lesson. No, God is not the one who steals, kills, and destroys in our lives (John 10:10), but He can use everything to benefit our lives.
Certainly, we don’t want to depend on blowups for breakthrough. There are some dangers to doing so because they can have the following destructive ingredients:
- Speaking very hurtful words – Once we say something, we cannot take it back. Yes, the speaking of something very hurtful may be the blowup that brings humility to change, but it will take a mature person to overcome the damage of concluding negative identify statements made in an angry moment.
- Making choices that greatly hurt other people – If our choices could potentially make a life-altering negative impact on our family or others (i.e. having an affair, embezzling money or doing something really stupid or illegal concerning finances, having a hidden major addiction problem, etc.), then we need to get help now.
- Making choices which greatly restrict our future – Some of our choices may lead to jail, divorce, huge debt, losing our job, or broken relationships. Again, God can use any of these for good (Romans 8:28), but we don’t need to wait for a blowup in order to change.
Even though we recognize these warning signs concerning blowups, we can still access the power and potential of personal or relational blowups (whether minor or major). Yes, sometimes things can get worse before they get better. Let’s overcome the fear and discomfort from these negative incidents and press into the breakthrough they have created. We will be glad we did.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.