Learning To Be Content In Great Trials

Do you know anyone that is or has suffered through a traumatic brain injury? I know of a few people in my life that have. The one that is most important is my wife, but this is really about anyone that has had a family member or friend that has had brain injury. First lets define what a brain injury is.

Every person that is or will be diagnosed with a traumatic event to the brain that causes some for of deficit in the brains’ ability to function normally without impairment. This brain injury can cause swelling in the brain causing pressure on the skull. As full-grown adults the brain is not flexible anymore. It can’t accommodate the increase in size due to injury and therefore this causes damage.

The Effects

The effects can be dramatic or subtle depending on the injury of the person. Every patient experiences some form of deficit cognitively, physically and emotionally. If they have to have any form of surgery to the brain, that also causes damage to the brain. Now compound this with radiation and chemo-therapy dumped on top of the first injury and you have a cascade of side-affects that the patient has to recover from.

Here are the top things that someone with a brain injury will struggle with.

  • Helplessness
  • Fatigue
  • Short-Term Memory Deficits
  • Environmental Stimulation
  • Potential Loss of Future
  • Isolation
  • Dispersal of Responsibilities
  • Financial Burdons
  • Anxiety, Stress
  • Disappointment
“Love One Another by Walking Together”

How best to treat someone with a brain injury

  1. Make eye contact
  2. Slow down (Speak Slower) They may have delayed cognitive processing and may need more time to understand what you are saying.
  3. Present only one idea at a time. Too many ideas at one time can cause confusion.
  4. Be patient, Be patient, Be patient
  5. Have great compassion as Jesus first had compassion on us

Contentment in Crisis

How do you be content with your life when in the mundane of life much less in the crisis moments of life? I think this is one of the greatest struggles we will have all of our lives. We listen to the world around us screaming at the top of its lungs, “YOU NEED MORE, YOU DESERVE MORE, SOCIETY OWES YOU MORE!” It is hard to fight against that constantly being shouted in everything we see, hear and read.

Now you take that thought and add to the mix that you are fighting for your life in a major illness. Of course, the natural thought is that we deserve to live longer, fuller, more fulfilling lives. Who says we deserve that? Did God say that? So what is the real problem?

Contentment is the real problem in life. I see it in my children and I didn’t have to teach them this runaway train of a thought. It’s in us from birth. We are naturally not content with anything God has given us. We are so discontent with everything in life that we from the day we are born reject God and all that he has done for us.

Contentment and anxiety are like old friend strolling down the sidewalk talking about how fear, happiness, joy, sorrow and many other things. It is hard to be content in life when you see your life crashing through the guardrail out of control careening over the cliff of anxiety and fear of the unknown.

Welcome To Reality

Don’t worry, I won’t leave you there over the edge of the cliff. There are some scriptures that address this very moment in our lives and yours.

Jesus described the kind of experience he wants us to know:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. . . . [For] your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” (Luke 12:22, 30–31)

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11–13)

The secret to contentment is simple. It really doesn’t require any majestic heroic acts. I think of a child. They trust their parents completely with childlike faith that the parent is going to do no harm. That is summed up in one of my favorite Proverbs.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:5-7

Of course, this sounds easy in principle, but it always comes down to the rubber meets the road in life. How do I practically apply this to my life every day in the mundane? More importantly, how do I apply this to my life when I am suffering through a traumatic brain injury?

To trust in the Lord with all your heart, this is profound in many ways. Do I really trust him or am I relying on myself still? It also brings up the question, “Do I really love God with all my heart?” Honestly speaking, I hope I do and want to love him that way, but fear that my sin keeps getting in the way of loving him the way that I should love him.

I think that in the crisis moments it is easier to trust him than in the mundane moments. In the crisis moments, we come face to face with the reality that we are utterly and completely helpless with everything in life. But in the mundane moments, we rely on ourselves. We rely on our own might, our own understanding and our own ability to make ourselves happy.

Great Reflection

I am calling this great reflection, but I think that these are the question we should as ourselves regularly.

  • Do I truly with all my heart trust in the Lord of the universe that created and sustains me?
  • Do I acknowledge that I am utterly and completely helpless to live life with a deep joy without God?
  • Do I love God more than everyone or everything else in my life?
  • Do I acknowledge God in everything I have and everything I do daily?
  • Am I willing to get out of the way and let God straighten the paths of my life?
  • Do I acknowledge Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savior of my life?

These are questions to really ponder today. Your life depends on it and so does mine. I only hope that in this journey of life that we will grown more content with the things that God blesses us with and less content with the captivation of the world around us. Our joy needs to be rooted deeply in God and his life giving Word!

I found this section from Desiring God about Trusting in God and Contentment. I hope you find it helpful too.

Trusting God is not easy, but it’s not complex. The knowledge of good and evil is complex. It produces Gordian knots we cannot untie. But we were never meant to. We were meant to trust God with them. And when we do, it is a great relief.

Trusting God is the secret:

God promises to give us peace and contentment if we trust him (Philippians 4:6–7). He really wants us to experience them in increasing measure, even here in this troubled world (John 16:33). So he has given us the simple, hard secret: Trust me. It is the only way.

I am a husband, father, business owner and follower of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. My hope is that you find these articles helpful in your walk through life.

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