Do You Have Any MLD’s?
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Multi-Level Disasters? Mother-in-Law Debates? Maple-Lemon Duck Sauce?

disappointment-300x210Acronyms develop when something appears so often that it calls for a more efficient name. No need for, “Repondez s’il vous plait.” Just write, “R.S.V.P.” Same with A.M., P.M., B.C., A.D., P.S., ASAP, B.Y.O.B and many more.

I’ve decided to coin an acronym: M.L.D. stands for Major Life Disappointment. I’ve decided it’s long overdue we talk about them, and officialize while taming them a bit, as acronyms tend to do. A case in point: A.D.D. became an official diagnosis, a household word, and an acronym around the same time. Admitting the diagnosis no longer shamed parent or child. The same should be true of admitting our M.L.D.s. Many, but not all, of us have had them. They lurk behind even happy eyes and broad, brave smiles. Here is my short list of some of the things that would qualify as M.L.D.s:

1. Untimely bereavement- Death of a loved one always saddens, but the loss of a child or young spouse hits harder than the loss of a 95 year-old grandfather. The young wife who loses her husband, the child who loses his parent, these bereavements bring almost unspeakable grief. Note: Let the bereavement be a suicide, and the grief is unspeakable.

2. Chronic health problems- You may know those nagging bodily malfunctions that don’t kill you but sometimes make you wish they would. Especially strange, poorly-understood illnesses such as fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome qualify. Chronic suffering that others can’t comprehend makes for a lonely road.

3. Straying children- This one punches any parent in the gut; but invested, godly parents most of all. A true parent cannot sever emotional ties with their child any more than a river can stop its flow into a stream. But a lost child makes that connection continually and extremely painful.

4. History of abuse- I’ve known people whose abuse history resembles an X-rated horror film. Especially incest or domestic violence damages the bonding machinery such that relationships come hard ever after. Not only are the victim’s family connections forever compromised, but the sense of being a misfit around healthier people drives them into the very subpopulation that violated them in the first place.

5. Aging- “He has set eternity in their hearts,” meaning that God created us to live forever. The wearing down and ultimate death of the systems that support life, plus the crumbling of personal appearance, ability, and ultimately cognitive strength, can drain zest for life right out of a person.

6. Relationship failure- We all have a few burned bridges on our life’s path, but very intimate relationship failure, such as marriage or parent-child, leave the very worst charring and, depending upon circumstances, cause the very worst ongoing pain. Relationships are delicate, intricate, and at times complicated. The best of surgeons must sometimes pronounce patients dead. It happens—in the hospital and the hospital of relationships.

The list goes on and on, enumerating as many sorrows as a fallen planet can choke out, but these fall close to home for me and those I care about.

So, am I writing this to depress you and myself? No, I’m setting us up for a solution. And here it is: Jesus saves from M.L.D.s. Not the way we would like Him to save, no. But in His way, He saves us. For the person who lives for this world alone, an M.L.D. drags them down like a lead boot in a foot race, unfortunate and unredeemable. But for a believer preparing for the coming of Jesus, an M.L.D. provides a needed wedge between their spirit and things of the world. M.L.D.s help spiritually as they harm temporally. More than this, M.L.D.s drive to a higher Source of satisfaction.

Let me get very personal and real here. My M.L.D.s have given me less to look forward to in this world. I really don’t feel excited about much. But my innate forward-looking human nature has adjusted by simply skipping over this world and honestly anticipating the world to come. I used to bristle a bit when people talked about the coming of Jesus. I worried I wouldn’t “make it.” I didn’t trust my own holiness enough to jump up and down at the thought of facing a pure, holy God coming with ten thousands of angels to purify the world of sin. But lately I’ve decided to leave my preparedness in the Preparer’s hands, and simply look forward to a much better world and the utter end of MLDs.

What have your MLDs been? How has Jesus used them in your life?

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Do You Have Any MLD’s? — 20 Comments

  1. Thanks, Jennifer, for your encouraging article. I have suffered many MLD's. When I despaired, I remembered God's love and what Jesus went through for me. Keep up the good work.

    Like(5)
    • Jennifer,
      Thank you so much for your attention to this matter. As a church goer, I find that I am alwasys asking and being asked, how are you. Well, I am at church and at church I of course am always fine and "they" also appear to be fine. God forbid we should reveal any major life dissappointment or failure. Most of the time I feel like I am crashing an exclusive club. I have felt this way for many, many, many, years. Your thoughts bring me closer to "strength in my weakness." I feel that I can possibly have super major joy due to the fact that I have had super major pain. I see this in Jesus.
      Thank you for the exposure.

      Like(0)
  2. Thank you for being used by the Holy Spirit. I agree that the MLDs can bring us to a better relation with Jesus but we have to be humble enough for the Lord to teach us what we need to learn from these disasters and have trust that it will work out in the end. Again thank you for some great insight.

    Like(2)
  3. Rather than focus on my own petty little M.D.L's which are legion by number I would like to think about what it is like for God to know how much of His creations will be lost in the end. Thinking of this bogs my mind not because of its immensity which involves billions but because God knew about it before He created anything. Sometimes the best things come out of life's painful situations and sometimes the only way for something to turn out good is for us to endure pain on the way.

    For God there was always the possibility for sin because He designed His creation with the idea of freedom as free moral agents that could choose evil rather than good if they wanted to. Since God is not confined by time His thoughts encompass the two ends of eternity and whatever He does He does with that in mind.

    The problem that God faced in making His creation the way He did was that sooner or later the instability of sin would raise its ugly head and with it a whole host of questions about Him as Lord and ruler. So not only did God have to face the demise of a significant portion of His creation (1/3 of the angels and significantly more of the human population) which He dearly loves but He also had to deal with wholesale rejection. The whole thing has to do with an act of love that is so deep that the greatest philosophers in the world can only scratch the surface of it.

    God endured immense pain because He was working for the supreme enjoyment of His creation for all of eternity. In this surely the end justifies the means and the pain he suffers during the controversy is very minor compared to the joy that lies ahead.

    Like(7)
  4. I have had bouts of MLD's in my life that at times left me feeling bitter about everything in life, and toward God. I would question the veracity of the statement in the Bible that says that Jesus was tempted in everything that humanity could ever experience, and that Jesus suffered every pain a person could possibly have gone through. I wondered, did Jesus ever go through a painful divorce, where he was forced to be separated from a daughter? I also asked, why would God allow all the sufferings just to prove to the rest of the universe that He would be vindicated. Why allow such collateral damage resulting from the Great Controversy to go on for so long? I am still searching for answers. But sometimes there is this moment of clarity where I can see that I was only focusing on my little insignificant life, which is only a dot as big as "less than nothing" on the radar screen, while God must see everything in such a bigger picture and throughout eternity in order to make sure everything works according to His plan. I sometimes can understand that despite all my MLD's, God has everything under control; and in everything that He allows to happen, He has our utmost welfare in mind which is based on Mercy and Justice. And I would shout, "Wow, it must not be easy to be God!" All I need to do is to trust that He is absolutely just and absolutely merciful at the same time.

    Like(6)
  5. Yeah, I know about MLD's, have several and they drag me dow a lot. Chronic continuing pain can really tear you down.
    Remembering what He has said about being with me til the end of the world [and throughout eternity] lifts me when I think of it.
    Appreciate your article, gave me something to think on and, hopefully, apply to my life.
    Happy Sabbath.

    Like(1)
  6. Ben Tamba, I thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience with us. I've resented God at times for allowing me to be his "exhibit A," saying, "I never signed up for this!" But I've come to see that the suffering will be there whether I believe in God or not, and seeing it in the context of the Great Controversy actually helps redeem it by making it meaningful as opposed to futile.

    Like(2)
  7. Tyler, while I agree that our focus should be God and His dilemma, so to speak, He Himself honors our sufferings and empathizes with us. I find that admitting MLDs can help people let go of them.

    Like(2)
  8. I have taken my turn raging at God, telling him, “No good parent would neglect his children like you do.” Over time God showed me that I was taking on a task too big for my intellect or my shoulders to bear. I was carrying the pain of the world and making it a case against God. This had become a substitute for facing the pain of my own disappointment.

    In the middle of facing the pain, I found it tempting to try to fend off the pain by giving up hope. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Prov 13:12 In the pain of that sickness, hope itself can seem like the enemy. Stirring up hope can be like using a flame to cure a burn. You may have heard it said, “Since I gave up hope I feel much better.” Giving up hope can be a great relief. But trying to live life without hope is a journey into hell. Healing includes the restoration of the freedom to hope. Healing has continued to come.

    Now my question is, what does it look like to fully recover from disappointment? It appears that the disappointment of Job became a staging for the blessings in his life to be doubled. Abraham, Moses, David, Gideon and many others in the faith hall of fame, had to make it through enormous disappointment in order to receive their promises and fulfill their calling.
    Hebrews 6:12 says, “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” I want to get to heaven and find my name written in the heavenly version of Hebrews 12. I want to be among those who change the world on the way to heaven. I know that to gain this success I must fully receive the healing that enables me to completely give up my case against God and be free to hope. What else is included in complete healing?

    Like(1)
  9. Randy, what substantive and mature thoughts. I've also mounted up a charge against God and found it pure futility. I finally realized that the one who supposedly pushed me into a pit then apathetically watched me suffer, was also the only way out of the pit. I finally made friends with God out of sheer self-preservation, but then came to appreciate that as much as He'd love to relieve my suffering, He's answering to a larger agenda with larger concerns. I thank HIm now by faith and will one day thank Him from full awareness that He did the right thing in allowing me to suffer. Thanks again for your thoughts. They obviously got me going . . .

    Like(1)
  10. It is interesting as well as scary reading through the MLDs people have to go through in life. God did not create us to go through suffering but sin has brought suffering to humanity. The sad part of it is that everyone is affected even those who worship the Lord. But Jesus has invited us to come to him with all our burden and he will lighten it for us. That should be the hope of every christain as we live in this world of sin.

    Like(3)
  11. Amen, Jennifer.
    God is good, on His throne, doing all He can to make His sacrifice effectual in the lives of each and every one of His children while they are still here making choices. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is Faithful. He is Love.

    Like(1)
  12. Meantime I'm passing through the persistent MLD. I've been through other MLD's from which I learned a lot and I'm thankful for them because they gave me strong reasons to love, hope and believe. Earlier when this MLD started I used to fast and pray frequently believe that soon this would be over but as times pass I felt weakness. Recently, I started a new version of prayer (I don't know exactly who said this in the bible), "Lord, if you wish heal me". Also my pain turned to motivation to help others who are in the same kind of problems because I know how it feels.
    I have hope to be the resident of the new earth where I'll never cry.

    Like(1)
  13. MLD's can never be escaped in life. They are always there with us all the time.The most important thing is to hold onto the promises of God.Always remember that God is with you in whatever situation that you go through. I have gone through MLD's that have shocked my nerves to the point of giving up. The worst was when my husband got infected. I thought God never loved me and my family and that my life had come to an end. But after accepting that we are all sinners fallen of the glory of God, and what Paul says that what I desire I do not but I do what I don't desire to do, i had to forgive him for the sake of my family and children. That was a major sacrifice to me. I believed In God's forgiveness and life had to go on.AM GLAD AND THANK GOD BECAUSE THE FORGIVENESS HAS BROUGHT HEALING TO MY HEART AND I DON'T BLAME GOD ANYMORE

    Like(1)
  14. This is the hope we who believe have in Jesus Christ that He will never forsake us. Just let ear to what the Apostle Paul had to say in this: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

    There is just so much hope in this through faith.
    I'm grateful for you all!

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