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The Secret That Changes Everything
By Bob Beaudine
Worthy Publishing GroupCopyright © 2016 Bob Beaudine
All rights reserved.
THREE SIMPLE BUT DISRUPTIVE QUESTIONS
God knows what you're going through, why you're going through it and how you feel about it. He knows you better than you know yourself.
— Rick Warren
I hadn't been writing this book for more than a week when I got a call from a friend reaching out for help. He said one of his close friends had been indicted and life was crashing down all around him. My friend was rushing over to meet his friend, whom he said sounded distraught, hopeless, and possibly contemplating taking his own life. I thought to myself, Wow, I need to get this book done as fast as I can! This book will not only be crucial for people who are in trouble, but a great resource for all of us who just don't know what to say, what advice to give others struggling with so many issues.
"Tell me about 2 Chairs, Bob," he said. "What advice can I share with my friend when I get there?"
I said, "Before I explain 2 Chairs, first make sure you give your friend a hug; he will need one. Then, tell him he's not alone. Let him know that no matter what's happened, right or wrong, you're there for him. Then go deeper. Tell him to sit down and relax for a second, because you want to help him see the field. And to get him there, you'll need to ask him three questions that will give you an opportunity to introduce him to 2 Chairs. It's there he will find the peace, joy, insight, wisdom, power, and favor he'll need to bring back hope to his situation." At the end of our conversation, he felt so much better equipped to help his friend at his worst moment.
My mom approached this subject of what to do and where to turn in times of trouble by asking me three simple yet disruptive questions — simple in that I couldn't believe I hadn't asked them before, and disruptive because they quickly disarmed me and showcased my limitations.
The first question she asked caught me completely off guard: "Does God know your situation?"
She quickly followed up with the second question: "Is it too hard for Him to handle?" I almost asked her, "Is this too hard for who?" But I knew my mom was bringing a much higher perspective to my situation.
Then she asked her final question: "Does He have a good plan for you?" That question was the most disruptive, because it exposed my limitations. I believed God did have a good plan for me, but I told her I didn't know what the plan was. She replied, "Of course you don't know. That's why you need 2 Chairs!"
QUESTION #1: Does God know your situation? Yes!
For some reason, when problems arise we have a tendency not to ask good questions. And even if we do, the last one it seems we want to ask is a simple one: Does God know?
I've seen it happen time after time. When people face problems beyond their ability to manage and lose control of their lives, they think that God is either too removed or too busy to even know about their situation. They act as if God is an old-time phone operator who can only handle six or seven lines for the seven billion people who are calling, and the only calls He considers important are heart attacks, terrorist strikes, and natural disasters. Others feel they have let Him down so they want to hide. Either way, they mistakenly believe they should try to handle things alone. Well, there's nothing like some trouble that forces us to our knees to ask good questions. When faced with a problem beyond our control or ability to correct ourselves, I believe this question is not only an important one, but it should be the first one you ask. Why? Because the answer brings everything that's out of order, back into order.
Think about the simple answer to this first question. There's something big hidden here that you need to know, and it's really comforting. What's that? God knows! And it's important that you know that He knows. That's why this has to be your first question. Acknowledging that God knows what's happening means believing that you are not alone. And feeling the security of the answer brings order to your situation.
The first priority for surviving a challenge, crisis, or any difficult situation is setting your mind above it, which in turn will bring clarity and perspective. What you need to do is to start at the highest thought, and of course that thought is ... God! One move toward Him and He'll be allin with you. He's not surprised or overwhelmed by your circumstance, nor is He mad or disappointed with you. He does not regret making you. Pulling up a chair and starting here changes everything.
Let me give you an example: Imagine you are the quarterback of a football team and you get sacked, rocked hard by a big defensive hit. A timeout is called and the coach and medical staff look at you on the sidelines. First, they just want to see if you're okay and will try to evaluate how badly you are hurt. They start by asking you a few simple questions to size up your condition. The answers you give will help them decide whether you're able to go back on the field or need to be held out for further examination. Now they're not going to wish or hope you're okay; they're going to be certain you're all right, because if they send you back in and you're not well, more damage can come to you and to others. Interestingly, the first question they ask isn't going to be, "Are you okay?" because people in crisis are normally in denial and will say whatever is necessary to get back in the game.
No one goes into something expecting a negative result. When you're hit, it catches you off guard; so much so, that you will do and say the stupidest things. The coach or trainer will normally ask a few simple questions that you wouldn't expect, and he'll ask them quickly, one after another. If you're disoriented and can't answer questions like "Where are we?" "What city?" "Who are we playing?" "What's your mom's name?" everyone around you clearly sees that you aren't doing well and it's time to lock away your helmet in the equipment cart.
Asking, "Does God know your situation?" is like taking a break with the head coach to evaluate the impact of the hit you just took. It's simple and wise, yet not stopping to check your vitals first is a big mistake. Why? Because you're in a situation bigger than you can handle by yourself, and you know it. Asking this question puts everything in perspective.
It is human nature that in times of trouble (physically, professionally, or relationally) we may not want to tell family and friends about what we've done or what circumstances have hit us, so we hide and isolate ourselves out of fearfulness, humiliation, or embarrassment. But listen, that's the worst thing you can do! The good news is that God knows before you sit down. He knows your problem before you even say a word. And He's there, sitting across from you and ready to help.
If you're being rushed to the hospital by ambulance for an immediate surgery, your first thoughts won't be long-term treatment plans, physical therapy, or medicine prescriptions. No, the highest priority is to get the bleeding stopped, the heart stabilized. In other words, you're praying, "Please, God, help me survive!" So, if it's natural to start immediately with God when the issue is an emergency medical trauma, why not start with God when the crisis concerns other areas of your life such as parenting, career, finances, or emotions? It's as if we envision God having some sort of cosmic priority system in which cancer and car accidents always come before breakups and bad bosses because the former is big, important stuff worthy of God's attention and the latter is too small. Let me tell you, in the strongest possible terms, what utter nonsense this is. God knows it all, and there is nothing too small for Him. He knows the number of hairs on your head and every grain of sand on the earth — so He is fully aware and concerned about every detail of your life, big or small.
You can do a lot of things that seem like they would be helpful, but it is ultimately futile and even harmful to jump ahead without starting with what is foundational. First things first, and that's why this question has to be number one. It is a big thought, a foundational thought, and a reassuring thought — yes, God knows!
QUESTION #2 Is it too hard for Him to handle? No!
For whom? God? Come on. You know better! Dr. Seuss once said, "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." And when it comes to life's toughest issues, you should always expect lots of complicated questions from the world around you (employers, creditors, family, friends, doctors, lawyers, and law enforcement). But don't get stuck looking for answers there, because sometimes ... there's just no logical answer for your problem. And trying to figure it out will just wear you down and discourage you. The reason you must ask the question, "Is it too hard for Him to handle?" is to remind you what God promised in Proverbs 3:5–6: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
It doesn't matter if you can't see the way through your trouble, because God can! And by the way, He's not concerned, bothered, or fearful of your circumstance. Period! He's got the experience, power, and wisdom to solve it. A great word to describe Him is that He's able. Able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that you ask or think. Able to help, keep, calm, save you in this time of trouble and restore you. In fact, while it is hard to believe when you are in the midst of the trouble, you will be a stronger and more compassionate person for going through this tough time of uncertainty and fear.
But before we go any further, let me remind you that even though it's not too hard for God to handle, it is too hard for you to handle. That's why when trouble hits, you have to run to Him as fast as you can, and only Him. Then, when you are in His presence, sitting across from Him in your 2 Chairs, He will show you what He wants you to do. It's not too hard, but it will take faith. You have to believe! Believe that God not only can help you but will help you if you ask, seek, and knock. That's your part, believing. God calls this "faith" and says that without it, it's impossible to please Him. But for some, this concept is initially hard.
I had a friend once say to me, "I'm not sure I believe in that 'faith' stuff, Bob."
I said, "Really?" I then asked him, "Have you ever flown on a plane?"
"Sure," he said.
"Did you personally see the mechanics tighten every bolt?"
"Of course not."
I asked, "Do you really understand how a jet can one minute be in Dallas, take off, and then two hours later land in Chicago?"
He laughed and said, "I get your point. If I have the faith to get on an airplane, I have the faith to try 2 Chairs."
I have an old college friend who grew up believing that God didn't get involved in our daily issues. He told me, "It's not that He can't or won't help, but He has too many other big issues to take care of around the world." So my friend would never ask for help.
The first time I heard him say that, I asked him, "So, if your seventeen-year-old daughter had a problem and didn't feel she should call you for help, how would you feel?"
He quickly responded, "Well she knows that I'm there for her and she'd better call."
"Really," I said. "What if she ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere? Would you want her to ask for help then?"
"Yes, of course I would."
"Now a splinter in your finger isn't a big thing, but would you help your youngest in that situation?"
"Yes!" he said.
I paused and then asked my friend, "Do you see the correlation here? God created you and spoke all throughout the Bible about wanting you to ask, seek, and knock for help whenever you're in trouble. He said that He, like a good shepherd, would leave the ninety-nine sheep to find the one that is lost. Isn't it in the small issues of life that we build trust and friendship? How could we really trust God on big things if we hadn't learned to trust Him in the small ones? Test it and see."
For many this is really hard, because the answer doesn't always come in the package or the specific timing we thought it would. As a result, we can easily be surprised, isolated, and discouraged, sometimes even feeling so hopeless that the only thing to do is quit. But you have to be careful here, because the trouble you or your loved ones are in doesn't always mean you're headed in the wrong direction. Sometimes, the trouble becomes the passageway to the answer and there's a gift waiting for you if you'll just persevere. But it will take faith to walk down this uncomfortable corridor in life, believing in something — some ONE — bigger than you. That's why it's so important for all of us to stop and talk to God first. To accept His 2 Chairs invitation to sit and talk, spend some time together, get to know and trust Him in times like these.
So, "Is it too hard for Him to handle?" The simple answer is: "There's nothing too hard for God to handle," if you'll just let Him.
QUESTION #3 Does He have a good plan for you? Yes!
The answer to this is absolutely yes! But people in crisis respond in several ways when asked this question. Some say, "I'm not sure," which unfortunately means they don't know Him. When you don't know someone, you usually don't feel comfortable reaching out and asking for help from that person. And that's not good when you are in over your head and need a lifeline.
Others when asked, "Does God have a good plan for you?" say, "I hope so," which unfortunately sounds like they're really not sure. And whenever anyone is not sure, confusion, fear, worry, and frustration set in and surround them and their circumstances.
Finally, when someone says, "Yes, I believe that God has a good plan for me," I love to ask, "What did He say?" They say, "What do you mean, what did He say?" And this conversation then sounds a lot like the classic Abbott and Costello routine, "Who's on first?"
Have you ever seen this old comedy routine? It's genius. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are talking about Abbott's new job as a manager of a baseball team. They're musing that baseball players have peculiar names like Dizzy Dean and his brother Daffy and their French cousin Goofé. Costello asks him if he knows the names of his in-fielders yet.
Abbott: Well, let's see, we have on the bags, Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third —
Costello: That's what I want to find out.
Abbott: I say Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third.
Costello: Are you the manager?
Costello: You gonna be the coach too?
Costello: And you don't know the fellows' names?
Abbott: Well I should.
Costello: Well then who's on first?
* * *
Costello: All I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name on first base.
Abbott: No. What is on second base.
Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.
Abbott: Who's on first.
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott: He's on third base.
I love this routine. The timing these two have and how they can make something so simple seem so confusing is genius. Unfortunately, it reminds me how confusing we have made the subject of talking and listening to God. Let me show you. When it comes to trouble in our lives, I ask these three simple but disruptive questions:
"Does God know your situation?"
"Is it too hard for Him to handle?"
"Does He have a good plan for you?"
"What is it?"
"I don't know."
Third base! I think that's where many of us are today relative to our hopes, dreams, and the downright discouraging trouble we face. We are just as flat-out confused and frustrated as Lou Costello was in that comedy sketch. If we are asked any questions on our situation, our response is: "I don't know!" Exactly: "Third base!"
But let's start with what we do know. We love God, we pray, and yet many people today rush past first base each day and don't listen to Who is at first base — God! We think He's too busy, has bigger issues to handle, and we're not really sure He wants to meet with us. Have you ever been praying so hard to God that you didn't take the time to listen to what He had to say on the subject? Have we become so familiar with praying, doing all the talking, and not taking time to listen for God's reply? If we don't start our day at 2 Chairs, we will find ourselves at second base asking ourselves, "What should I do?" only to arrive at third base saying, "I don't know!"
Stop the silliness! He has a plan for you. He spoke about it in Jeremiah 29:11, when He said that He has plans for you — "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Wouldn't it then make sense that He might want to share it with you?
It's interesting how many people will talk and pray about their goals, dreams, and problems ... but it seems to me there is less emphasis today on giving God the opportunity to actually respond. To talk back. We may ask God questions, but we seldom give Him the time to answer us. We're too busy or too frantic to be still and listen.
Excerpted from 2 Chairs by Bob Beaudine. Copyright © 2016 Bob Beaudine. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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