Fri, May 24, 2024

Faith Friday: Life is Hard. God is Good. Let’s Dance!

Steve Swanson is the former station manager of 88.3 WAFJ radio station in North Augusta.

Brant Hansen is a nationally syndicated radio host. His newest book, Life is Hard. God is Good. Let’s Dance. Experiencing Real Joy in a World Gone Mad was released just days ago. I began by asking Brant if continuing to write books is part of his master plan. His response? “Yeah, my master plan – that I don’t have. I’m just trying to be faithful with whatever crosses my path today and then letting God take care of the other stuff.”

Are you surprised that you have so much to say or that your words have resonated with so many folks? 

“Yeah, I’m surprised on both counts. Stuff that I have to say, I have to ask God to please provide that because I do radio as well, so I constantly have to provide content. And each morning, I don’t feel like I have it. I have to come up with 20 things to say for each show. Separate ideas that hopefully have some value. And maybe you can do that one day. But the next day like that puts me in a position that’s pretty good. Pretty good thing of having to ask God to please help me because I don’t have it. Please give me something to say. And then I ask to please let it have value in people’s lives somehow. Please let them be a blessing to people. That’s all. I’m not focused on how many per se. I want to add value and I want it to be an influence for the Kingdom somehow.

When did you sense it was time to write again and come up with this particular topic?

This is a problem in our culture. People are almost sick with anxiety, and I even find that among people who like me are self-described Christians. They’re very anxious. I have a hard time squaring that with Jesus telling us we don’t have to worry. When I’ve talked about Jesus telling us we don’t have to worry on the radio, I get some pushback sometimes which is very strange. People say, “Yeah, he said that, but let’s be realistic.” I do think it’s quite realistic. I do think the way of life he’s giving us, we can become less and less anxious and more and more at peace. When I talk about joy in the book, joy really isn’t an emotion that comes and goes. It’s a pervasive sense of well-being regardless of circumstances.

What were you thinking of when you used the phrase that, “We live in a world gone mad?”

The amount of information that we are inundated with of things that are worrisome! These are things that could make you worry. And those 50 things that the news just brought? They’ve got another 50. It’s a constant inundation. It’s the doom-scrolling, the 24/7 news networks, none of this will bring you peace. But we trade it in left and right for more and more information that is fear-inducing. If your attention is focused on something that is life-giving, it gives you that sense of well-being. But if your attention is going to cause unrest in your own heart and soul, you’re going to be riddled with anxiety. So much of this comes down to where our attention is. Jesus tested his disciples when the storm came up on the lake. They thought they were going to die. He wanted them to be at ease because they were perfectly safe in this world if they trusted him. Even if the ship goes down, they’re still ultimately safe. I am at the point personally where I can say You know what? I do have enough information. I can trust his character. He’s been so good to me. When you for real do that and you honestly think that in the end there is going to be a reason for things, like God’s gonna reveal it. Oh, that’s why all that happened. I do believe that’s a huge help.

You talk about joy as though it’s a real and attainable thing?

It is! But it’s something we have to choose. These things bring peace to your life. Radically forgiving people instead of staying angry the rest of your life. Capturing your thoughts. There is so much in the Old Testament (and new) about replacing your thoughts with those that are true, right, and admirable. I have to do this all the time. I have to arrest those thoughts and say, no, not going to think about that. Instead, I’m going to be thankful. Think of things I can be grateful for because you can’t be grateful and anxious at the same time. I’m actively living a life of thankfulness. What Jesus said about praying for your daily bread. You’re not thinking about next year, you’re asking God for the resources for today. You see how he provides for you every day. He’s good. Everything he’s telling us, he’s giving us a way of peace.

Do you think joy can be found apart from a relationship with Jesus?

If we put our faith in anything else, and we can lose that thing, what happens? I don’t know how to get the peace of Christ absent of Christ.

When you were writing this book, did you have a specific age or type of person in mind?

No, I really didn’t. I think it applies to everybody. It’s for people who are looking for a realistic way to live with joy, and who have a sense of humor. The way of Jesus will lead you to be more childlike. This approach to following in Jesus’ footsteps, learning to be like him and humbly making him in charge, frees you up to laugh a lot more, it takes the pressure off.  There is so much childlikeness that comes from actually following Jesus. It’s joyful, it’s peaceful, and there’s a simplicity to life again. The good news is that he’s leading us somewhere where all that can be recovered.

How has writing the book impacted you personally?

The thing that struck me was the thought that in the end, I’ll know that I never actually needed to be worried. You pour yourself into something (when writing a book). My prayer is the same. God, please use whatever influence I have to be a blessing to people. I have to mean that. I hope people like it. I hope it’s a blessing. I’m thankful I get to try. God can do what he wants to, and I have to be OK.

What’s ahead for you?

I will be leading a conference soon, we’re calling a followership conference. When I do, I will tell everyone that there are no experts but Jesus, and that we’re ALL learning. He is the teacher. We are all disciples (classmates) who have to be in learner mode all the time. I’m also going to be on Good Morning America scheduled in March and then Focus on the Family wants to talk about the book as well.

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