We spent months planning for the big day. We had prepared diligently. My brother, Dale and I have been discussing the possibility of hosting a Webinar (Kind of like it sounds, it’s a Seminar on the Web) for over a year. We finally decided to do it. We chose the theme, the date, and the venue. We spent months choosing just the right host for the Webinar (okay, Dale did most of that. He is much more savvy about that technical stuff, you know Ministry Geek and all that!).
We worked a long time on the material we would present. Dale had his co-worker, the multi-talented Scott Bond produce our slides. We discussed the timing, the order, the intro, the conclusion, and every other aspect of the Webinar we could imagine.
We did a couple of trial runs and everything seemed to be ready. We were both a little nervous, but we felt good that everything was going to work out just like we planned it.
Well, to put it mildly, our first Webinar was a colossal failure! And that might be generous!! We had internet connection problems, problems with the company we had chosen to air the Webinar, technical difficulties, sound issues, and basically everything that could have gone wrong did!
We were both extremely disappointed. Fortunately, we were able to correct most of the issues and we did something we had not planned on doing. We broadcast the live Webinar a second and a third time.
While all of the attendees were very patient and very kind we ultimately lost some of them. Some because of time issues and some no doubt because of our problems. We hope to gain them back in future Webinars. Needless to say, the lessons we learned were numerous.
I know that in the big scheme of things, in the big picture of life a “Webinar failure” (hey, that might be a new term I just created) is small potatoes. I am also very aware of the fact that some of you who are reading this post are dealing with much larger issues.
The loss of a spouse, a report of some dreaded health issue, the loss of a child (we should never have to bury our children), the loss of a parent before you were ready to let them go, the loss of a job, huge financial concerns, a marriage that is not what you had dreamed it would be, children who have grown up and rejected what you taught them, church fights, being fired from a preaching position, seeing members disappoint you as you attempt to shepherd their souls, seeing church leaders with moral failures, dealing with people who are close to you refuse to treat you kindly, and numerous difficulties are all huge, real life issues that sometimes don’t work out the way we had dreamed they would.
The question is what do you do when you find yourself in one of these situations? Where do you turn? Who do you trust? How do you continue to live for the Lord when one or more of these issues slap you in the face?
DEEPEN YOUR PRAYER LIFE. There is no greater source of strength than our Father in Heaven. He knows what it is like to deal with pain. He knows what it is like handle disappointment. He knows how it feels to be hurt deeply by people you care about profoundly.
He calls upon us to give Him our greatest struggles and concerns. “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:8) God once said to His people, “Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)
We do not have to deal with the difficulties of life on our own. We have a Heavenly Father who wants to help us, who is able to help us, and who longs to help us. We should continually call upon Him.
DEPEND ON OTHER CHRISTIANS. God has also blessed us with people here on the earth that can help us. There are many who have struggled with the same issues that you might be struggling with right now.
There are many who have overcome the obstacles that would attempt to redefine the life of a Christian. We know that Satan is walking about on the earth trying to destroy Christians (1 Peter 5:7) and we know he has powerful schemes (Ephesians 6). Yet, many have overcome and they are willing to help us overcome.
God has put into place a network of people to help us. Each of the following “one another” passages help us see that God doesn’t want us to walk through life alone. “Strengthen one another.” (Romans 14:19) “Help one another.” (Hebrews 3:13) “Encourage one another.” (Romans 14:19; 15:14; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13; 10:24-25) “Care for one another:” (Galatians 6:2) “Commit to one another.” (1 John 3:16) “Be devoted to one another.” (Romans 12:10) “Be interested in one another.” (Philippians 2:4)
DIG DEEPER INTO THE WORD. Another great resource that our Great God has provided for us is His marvelous Word. Through reading the Word we are given the opportunity to see how God’s people dealt with difficulties in previous generations.
God’s Word gives us strength, comfort, power for daily living, and answers to some of life’s most difficult questions. King David learned to love the Word of God. (Psalm 119:97) He allowed the Word of God to guide him through life. (Psalm 119:109)
DEVELOP A GREATER TRUST IN THE LORD. While trusting in Him certainly includes prayer and Bible study, there is more to it than those two wonderful activities.
Trust involves dependence. We must believe that God will be with us, that He will deliver us. We should depend on Him more than anyone else. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding…” (Proverbs 3:5)
Trust involves acknowledgement. If we are going to handle the issues of life that don’t turn out the way we had dreamed they would we must acknowledge that He is God and that we are not. “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:6) The promise in this Scripture brings great hope when we feel that hope is lost.
Trusting in the Lord will make our lives happier. When we don’t trust Him we are more likely to live in quiet desperation. Jeremiah 17:7 teaches us that we will be blessed if we trust in the Lord and if the Lord is our trust.
When I think about a “Webinar failure” (by the way, we are offering our second Webinar and you can learn more about it through this link: http://thejenkinsinstitute.com/2012/03/making-guests-feel-at-home-webinar-2/) it pales in significance to so many big issues that people are struggling with.
When you feel like life has let you down there is great hope if you will deepen your prayer life, depend on fellow Christians to help you, dig deeper into the Word and develop a greater trust in the Lord.
Dear God, we thank You for being our trust when life seems hard. We pray that You will give us the strength to pray more, lean on others for help, find solace in Your Divine Word, and trust totally in You. Thank You dear Lord for all you do for us every day. Help us to love You more each day. In the Name of Jesus our Savior, Amen.