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WHEN THINGS GO WRONG

The Urantia Book teaches that the trials and vicissitudes of life experience, which are often the result of the imperfections of free-will choosing, are more than matched by the gifts given us by the Father to deal with such experiences. As we face these trials, the Father faces them with us and together we nourish and strengthen our souls, the living repository in which the spirit victories of our lives are stored for our eternal adventure of exploring God's infinite reality.

We hope that "When Things Go Wrong" is helpful to you in dealing with difficult life situations.


I. When Feeling Lonely or Isolated
II. When in Doubt or Confusion
III. When Feeling Guilty
IV. When in Sickness or Hardship
V. When Feeling Discouraged or Defeated
VI. When Feeling Impatient or Stagnant
VII. When Fearful
VIII. What To Do About It All

I. When Feeling Lonely or Isolated

There are times when the earth seems cruel and desolate, and life inconsequential; when believed friends care not about our mounting troubles; when we feel left alone to repair unfair problems, needing tools we do not own. Unbuttressed by hope, our cathedral's walls, weakened and vulnerable, stress toward collapse.

Life's vagaries often cause us to be alone. Loneliness might arise through travel or employment, although most often it is through the rupture of valued relationships. The consecrated soul is not immune to such pain, but our heavenly Father provides an inner stability that imparts joy and peace in the midst of all the capricious circumstances of life.

In years past, families tended to stay together, sometimes living in the same house for generations. Neighbors were the sons and daughters of their parents' childhood friends. With social stability and continuity, everyone knew his settled place. Since the freedom and movement of modern life render such situations no longer common, many feel physically and emotionally dislocated, and long to return to the stable, dependable relationships of which their parents or grandparents spoke.

But there is no return to bygone days; we must find stability through higher relationships: companionship with God and in the community of the spiritual kingdom. In this mutually supporting fellowship of believers connected to the spirit Father there is support for those of shared values and dedication, and in which the true cure for loneliness is found.

Those who know only this world's pleasures are condemned to experience bitter loneliness. Enduring relationships based on spiritual seeking, not things, alone satisfy the hungry human heart. When once we know God's love and power, our meager stores no longer seem so slight, for the bounty of Father's infinite provision becomes ours for the asking. Our feeling of isolation was bad dream and illusion, because the Source of all comfort had been there all along, ready to replenish our exhausted souls with abundant hope and give us faith in our ability to fulfill his perfect will.

Reference Beginning with
(2:5.9) The Father's love follows us now and throughout
(5:1.8) The Father desires all his creatures to be in personal communion with him.
(12:7.9) The love of the Father absolutely individualizes each
(34:6.12) And when such a life of spirit guidance is freely and intelligently accepted
(102:7.10) Of God, the most inescapable of all presences
(112:0.1) You have been endowed with a perfect guide
(117:6.27) But no God-knowing mortal can ever be lonely.
(139:7.7) Outcast and despairing men and women flocked to hear Jesus
(182:3.9-11) Before Judas and the soldiers arrived

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II. When in Doubt or Confusion

Meaningful decisions are never easy, for life in this world is continual compromise. We must earn a living to stay alive and, whether reluctantly, enter mammon's service. We crave to serve others, but seek personal success as well.

Doubt and confusion are quite different. Occasional confusion is nothing more than the byproduct of grappling with new ideas, and does no harm provided we do not become rutted in its disorienting corridors. Confusion arises from immaturity in the face of the multiplicity of human philosophies and the surface logic appearing to justify them. Confusion is unavoidable, but so long as we remain in relationship with our Father, ongoing spiritual revelation dissipates its transient debilitation.

Doubt is more sinister, for it rationalizes taking our own way instead of God's. Doubt is deliberate turning away from the human heart's natural orientation toward God. Doubt is denial of God's presence in our minds, the most real and true thing within us. It is abandonment of our highest values of love, truth, service, hope, and faith. Doubt turns us toward nothingness, toward the void that exists in the absence of spirit. Doubt is the ultimate enemy, and is fought by turning back to God, where Father's radiant love drives away all that might harm our souls.

Doubt is the aberration, faith the normal condition. Faith is a gift; to receive it requires only that we open our minds and hearts to God. Faith brings our souls into the upward stream of universal love that Father bestows upon all who love and follow him. It is the way of life. We feel the difference between the nothingness of doubt and the expansiveness of faith, and the joy and peace of spiritual communion provide positive proof of Father's presence in our souls.

The knowledge of Father's power, loving-kindness, and guidance becomes our spiritual gyroscope against life's Sargassos of ennui and hurricanes beyond our meager control, stabilizing our ship as it slices through the darkness of the unknown sea.

Reference Beginning with
(2:5.5) After all, the greatest evidence of the goodness of God.
(100:4.1-3) Religious living is devoted living
(102:6.7) Belief may not be able to resist doubt and withstand fear
(108:6.8) You humans have begun an endless unfolding
(158:5.2) And when Jesus heard these words
(182:3.7) Jesus experienced that natural ebb and flow of feeling
(196:0.5) Theology may fix, formulate, define, and dogmatize faith

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III. When Feeling Guilty

When we behave poorly, guilt holds up the mirror of our own violated moral standards. Like pain that apprises us of a splinter driven deep into our flesh, guilt demands a halt to whatever wrong we are committing by creating a terrifying sense of failure before God and separation from our loved ones. Physical pain abates once the splinter is removed, but guilt can debilitate years after the thought or act that gave it birth. Such rogue guilt must simply be shut out, forsaken, and forgotten? denied entry at the gates of our minds. Having accomplished its valid purpose, having delivered its unwelcome message regarding our unacceptable behavior, if the messenger of guilt refuses to flee before the dawn of Father's forgiveness, it must be forcibly ejected by all who crave peace.

Perspective lightens the agony of guilt. Who consistently lives up to the bright star of his ideal life? Occasional sin is inevitable, a natural outcome of God having made us free yet immature; it is part of being human. The important thing is quick recovery from the error which gave rise to the guilt, effective learning, and heightened guard against repeating it in the future.

It is not Father's wish that his children live in guilt. Guilt is no more than a useful marker to remind our souls that better behavior and attitudes are required. Indulged in, however, guilt harasses and debilitates us, impeding our spiritual journey towards that state in which sin becomes impossible-the fusion of our souls with Father's indwelling spirit.

All we have to do is sincerely endeavor to live by our highest light of spiritual understanding, allowing no conscious sin to exist in our lives. Inadvertent sins are momentary lapses that have no impact on the spiritual life, but repeated sin is a soul poison which must be eradicated if we are not to retrogress. To stay clean within we avoid all ongoing sin through the power of our relationship with God, the joy of which renders increasingly unlikely its dislocations. Father will take care of all the rest. Our Parent loves us supremely, sees what we can become, and works to help us fulfill the destiny he established for us before the worlds began.

Reference Beginning with
(2:5.4) God is divinely kind to sinners.
(34:6.9) In every mortal there exists a dual nature
(34:7.7) The normal urges of animal beings
(103:4.3) The sense of guilt (not the consciousness of sin) comes either
(133:7.12) The human mind does not well stand the conflict of double allegiance.
(156:5.8) Do not become discouraged by the discovery that you are human.
(160:4.7) Never hesitate to admit failure.
(174:1.3) Divine forgiveness is inevitable

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IV. When in Sickness or Hardship

Seeing afflicted innocents, some have questioned God's love, even his existence. But Father loves all his children, and wants none to be hurt, sick, or crushed by circumstance. The existence of suffering rather proves that God has placed us in the only sort of world where strong characters could possibly be built, that is, a place where freely taken actions have real consequences. God never visits tribulation upon his children, but created our world as it is that we might learn and mature through contact with actual reality. Such an education can be harsh, but worth the gain in making us strong, faithful people who can believe in spiritual values in the midst of so much that seems totally contrary to all that is good, beautiful, and true.

Father could, of course, heal all human sickness with a word, but to do so would violate the physical laws of his ordaining and would not lead men into the kingdom. The five thousand whom Jesus fed on the shores of Galilee did not enter the kingdom, nor the five hundred at Capernaum whom he healed at sunset.

While progressing science gradually solves the problems of disease, we should take comfort in our Father's knowledge of our affliction. When all within human power to ameliorate the situation has been done, we should accept our lot, remembering that all affliction is temporary, and can conduce to upbuild our eternal souls provided we accept our situation with dignity, faith, and complete submission to Father's will. After all personal resources are exhausted, we can rest in our Parent's love, where wholehearted faith in God can bring about the healing of any affliction.

When the kingdom of heaven is our goal of existence, material considerations are relegated to proper subordination. Life inevitably involves suffering, but for those who can see Father's greater purposes behind the veil, he offers sustaining inner peace which enables us to rise above any deprivation that might come our way.

Reference Beginning with
(2:4.2) God is inherently kind
(3:3.2) I have surely seen the affliction of my people
(3:5.5-14) All evolutionary creature life is beset by certain inevitabilities.
(10:7.5) The mortal mind can immediately think of a thousand and one things
(32:3.10-11) When the heights of perfection and eternity are attained
(75:8.6) We are a part of a gigantic creation
(108:5.5-6) Your transient and ever-changing emotions of joy and sorrow
(110:0.1) The endowment of imperfect beings with freedom entails tragedy
(118:10.9) Most of what a mortal would call providential in not
(127:3.14-15) Jesus possessed the ability effectively to mobilize all his powers of mind
(127:6.12) Jesus is rapidly becoming a man, not just a young man but an adult.
(140:3.14-15) I say to you: Love your enemies
(148:5.5) The eternal God is your refuge
(194:3.3) To Jesus, mortal life had dealt its hardest, cruelest, and bitterest blows
(194:3.12) Pentecost endowed mortal man with the power to forgive personal injuries

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V. When Feeling Discouraged or Defeated

Flush with success, it's natural to laugh and tell funny stories; harder, though, to search for good in the collapsed rubble of our fondest dreams. Discouragement and defeat often follow sad circumstance, insinuating it's no use, the battle is lost anyway. But if we concur, we allow ourselves to be rendered helpless by the undertow of evil and pain in this imperfect world; if we furl our standard without a fight, discouragement has won a needless victory.

Discouragement arises from continued failure that causes us to wonder if we will ever measure up to our own or others' standards. But the only standard that matters in God's sight is whether we follow his spirit in our lives. We are not accountable for causes of failure beyond our control, such as circumstance, lack of natural giftedness in the area of our efforts, or interference by selfish individuals.

Experiencing defeat is a normal and valuable aspect of life. It induces us to reexamine the entire situation in which we find ourselves with a view toward helpful course correction. Wallowed in, however, defeat paralyzes our wills and creates a self-fulfilling continuance in that failure from which deliverance is sought. There is nothing unusual about failure or defeat. The city's gate does not give in at the battering ram's first blow; persistence is required. So long as life remains, only good can come from challenging life's hardships, for all things work together for good for those who love God and are dedicated to his will.

From our Father's perspective, the crash of our life's plans and the heavy clouds of failure, darkness, and pain are giving birth to deeper wisdom and greater opportunities for growth and service.

We use failure and defeat, then, to reevaluate the validity of that which we seek, asking Father whether our goals and chosen means are in accordance with his plan. If they are not, failure must sooner or later ensue, because we will find ourselves arrayed against the on-moving course of Reality itself. When, however, we feel God's assurance that our goals and means are acceptable in his sight, we must not allow anything to deflect us; we must reject any human characterization of failure for efforts that meet divine approval; we must aggressively continue despite all indications to the contrary, allowing nothing to discourage our righteous efforts. Communion with Father's loving nature lessens our struggles and empowers us to achieve his loving will.

Reference Beginning with
(4:4.9) The consciousness of a victorious human life on earth
(48:6.24-25) From these angels you will learn to let pressure develop stability
(111:1.5) What you are today is not so important as what you are becoming
(131:2.9) The Lord is near all who call upon him in sincerity and in truth.
(132:4.2) And when these maladjusted human beings
(138:8.9) The disciples early learned that the Master had a profound respect
(156:5.17) The measure of the spiritual capacity of the evolving
(159:3.3) Forget not that I will stop at nothing to
(160:4.9) Failure is simply an educational episode
(196:2.10) He taught men to place a high value upon themselves

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VI. When Feeling Impatient or Stagnant

The impatient person is angry because the tree refuses to bear fruit before due season. Impatience assumes God is not acting fast enough–that we creatures grasp events better than the Creator in whom we live and move and have our being.

Those who do things before their appointed time fail in their endeavors, because conditions conducive to success have not yet been prepared. Acting on faith, however, we cooperate with our all-wise Father's schedule and experience peace in relinquishing responsibility over events beyond our control. We no longer carry so many of earth's weary burdens, and being thus released, are free to work all the harder on the tasks uniquely our own. We cease making personal plans for the lives of others since we are called to love our brothers, not to pressure them to act contrary to their own free will.

Spiritual stagnation results from failing to seek spiritual truth and pass along what we have received to others. Those who serve can never become stagnant, for Father leads them into ever more challenging and fruitful avenues in which his love can be revealed. Those with surfeit of this world's goods may stave off stagnation by a frenetic procession of ever-changing toys, but in the service of God, even common toil is holy and sacred.

Stagnation bespeaks absence of challenge, which in turn betrays the lack of a living spiritual connection with God, who continually moves us into higher realms of service. We should therefore submit to Father's will and make his plans our own in every particular, trusting in his wisdom and loving-kindness, for apart from him we are nothing.

Reference Beginning with
(14:5.10-11) Love of adventure, curiosity, and dread of monotony–these traits
(32:5.1-4) There is a great and glorious purpose in the march of the universes
(32:5.7-8) There is in the mind of God a plan which embraces every creature
(34:6.13) The consciousness of the spirit domination of a human life
(65:5.3) The universe of universes, including this small world called Urantia
(75:8.5) Never, in all your ascent to Paradise
(106:7.5) No matter how much you may grow in Father comprehension
(111:1.9) Mind is your ship, the Adjuster is your pilot, the human will is captain.
(117:4.14) When man consecrates his will to the doing of the Father's will
(147:5.7) That same evening Jesus made the long-to-be-remembered address
(152:6.1) It requires time
(195:5.10) Do not try to satisfy the curiosity or gratify all the latent adventure

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VII. When Fearful

Fear is the overwhelming terror we feel when, defenseless, we hear the drums of the enemy marching. Reason and common sense are swords too dull to cut the knot that binds us to fear's downward spiral of pain and destruction. Fear weakens our moral values and paralyzes our wills, leaving us hunkered down helpless before imagined foes; or, it can spin uncontrolled into panic as we claw wildly like cornered animals. Fear is the corrosive that sets upon faith-the child's relationship with God. Fear runs riot in its destructive cycle, interdicting every good intention, devouring first the one who is afraid. Fear is the vacuum left when love and trust are gone.

Fear is the needless panic of the child alone in the night, when all along his parents are in the next room. Fear is our peril when we feel weak, pride when we feel strong. Both arise when our connection with God is impaired by immaturity, indifference, or willful perversity. Under any of these circumstances life is painful, for it is out of alignment with the currents of Father's plan, which alone provides health of body, mind, emotions, soul, personality, and spirit. Father desires that his children be free from fear and makes available the power by which we may.

Reference Beginning with
(48:6.15) I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me
(130:6.3-4) By this time the young man very much desired to talk with Jesus
(133:1.4) Ganid, I have absolute confidence in my heavenly Father's overcare
(140:8.3) He sought to make it clear that the world is not to be
(165:5.2-4) You have dedicated your lives to the ministry of the kingdom
(180:3.4-5) Let not your hearts be troubled.
(181:1.10) The peace of Jesus is, then, the peace and assurance of a son

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VIII. What To Do About It All

"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God." This river is Father's will, and it flows out to all who are willing to receive the water of life. Life has no meaning apart from a relationship with God. The goods and thrills of a vainglorious generation are spiritually meaningless, failing to satisfy the deepest and truest reality in the human heart. Father longs for his children to be with him and live in his love. To so live requires only that we seek him with a whole heart and abandon those things that stand between us and the kingdom of life, health, and happiness.

Except for the operation of higher laws, the facts of material existence must simply be accepted. Prayer alone cannot heal, but it can open up a vision of spiritual healing which connects with illimitable faith, wherein we accept Father's solution to every one of our problems, big and small, and wherein even tragedies work for good.

As we find our Father and share our lives with him, his energy renews us hour by hour. He takes us to a high plain from which we look down over the breadth of life's problems, and there!–off in the distance, we see the shining city of our dreams. His power commingles within us, and we see ourselves as part of a larger effort, wherein all the sons and daughters of God work together for the advancement of the greater whole, helping speed the day when this world becomes the place he intends it to be.

Reference Beginning with
(34:7.8) Having started out on the way of life everlasting
(48:6.25) Learn to suffer less through sorrow and disappointment
(91:6.5) Do not be so slothful as to ask God to solve your difficulties
(91:9.1-8) If you would engage in effective praying
(136:4.8) It had always been Jesus' practice
(144:2.6) But when you pray, you exercise so little faith
(144:3.3) Our Father who is in heaven
(163:6.7-8) To you and to all who shall follow in your steps down through the ages

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