Once upon a time, I heard a story.
A story about a man who did insanely unbelievable things.
He walked on water…
He brought sight to the blind…
He raised the dead…
The kind of things that only fairy tales are made of. I was 12 when I finally decided to accept these fairytales for the truth that they are. But, at the time, I didn’t realize that believing the story isn’t quite enough. Even the demons believe. The Devil himself believes the story. But, that doesn’t change their eternity.
I grew up experiencing an abnormal amount of unfortunate circumstances. Parts of my life I won’t try to romanticize to make for a good post (like I’ve been accused of doing…), but there were and have been parts of my life that no person should have to go through.
I used to think that I didn’t have a story because…well, I didn’t have a story. I don’t have some horrible history with abuse the way that Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer do. I have never had an abortion haunt me the way that writers like Lysa TerKeurst and Sara Mae have. My story, although full of not-so-happy moments, seemed (and still seems) completely insignificant.
I used to wonder why certain things happened to people. Why good things seemed to happen to “bad” people and why bad things happened to “good” people. Things didn’t always seems fair (still don’t a lot of days). I think the first “unfair” memory I have was being carried out of my burning house by my father when I was six years old.
My family and I lost everything. At six, the main concern and heartbreak there was losing all of my toys. I was also a tiny little beauty queen (not the Honey BooBoo kind, by the way) and I remember my sash and crown burning up. I remember, even at that age, wondering why that happened to me…why my family?
In Junior High I remember one of the High School cheerleaders getting killed in a head on collision on her way to school. Then again when I was 16 a friend of mine and his dad were killed in a car wreck; followed not too long after with a sweet girl who used to cheer with me losing her life in a car accident. Both of my grandmothers, women who influenced me and impacted me greatly, passed within 10 days of one another back in 2004. When we were living in Kodiak, my beautiful sorority sister and friend Brittany and her baby boy Shep were lost in another car accident. And most recently, this year, one of my very best friends Tori and her husband lost their precious Ivalee at the very end stages of her pregnancy.
Each time something like this has happened, a life lost too soon, a death that didn’t seem like it was in good time, a family ripped apart by tragedy…
I’ve asked myself, and God, WHY.
You see, there’s this misconception floating around out there that life in Christ equals life without pain. I would wholeheartedly love to know who started that rumor so I could point him to some pretty significant points in the Bible. Because, as unfortunate as we may think it is, that’s just simply not true. In fact it’s probably one of the furthest things from the truth that there is.
[pullquote]A life with Christ is to come with the expectation of unfortunate circumstances.[/pullquote] That’s just the way that it is. Because with those unfortunate circumstances we come to receive some of the greatest life lessons, the greatest changes, and the deepest soul conversions possible. It is only through that struggle that we become more like Him. And ultimately that’s the whole point.
At the end of last year and the beginning of this year, I spent a lot of time asking the “Why God?” question. My marriage was falling apart and I didn’t know how to fix it. My heart was so hardened that I was starting to resent my own children and my spirit was so bitter that I don’t know how anyone could stand to be around me. I was depressed; I was anxious; and I was lonely.
I blamed God for all of the things and all of the problems in my life; pointing my finger at anyone and everyone and everything else out there for the areas in my life that I was weak and struggling. I blamed God for not “fixing” everyone else the way that I thought they needed fixed or in the time frame in which I thought that they needed to be fixed.
I thought that losing my grandmothers simultaneously was the hardest point in my life, but the end of 2014 and early 2015 proved me wrong. Never in my life have I hated my circumstance more. I stopped praying all together. I stopped reading my Bible and spending time with God. He after all, was the source of my problems. He was the reason that my marriage was crumblings and my children were acting like lunatics. He was the reason that I couldn’t get a handle on life in any way and felt like I was drowning.
I turned to everything in the world to make myself feel better. Walking down a destructive path that would have inevitably caused my end- either as a wife, a mother or of my life altogether-had He not intervened.
But He did.
Because whether we deserve it or not, He is Faithful.
I say all of that to say this:
Your walk with Christ is not going to be easy and it’s not going to be pain free. You need to accept that now before you ever, ever decide you want to walk this road with Him.
Nothing that’s ever worth it is easy.
We talked this morning about how Paul labored for the Cause of Christ…just as a woman labors and writhes in pain and agony for the birth of her child. The pain, the hurt, the seemingly endless discomfort that comes with giving birth. Until…that moment when all of that pain, all of the ache from the laboring goes away and it replaced with an inconceivable joy.
Friends, life with Christ is much the same.
We toil, we hurt, we labor for something that is much, much greater. How much better can the birth of a life in Christ be than the birth of a child? While we will never know the true joy of that labor on this side of Heaven, I’m convinced that all of the crap here on this Earth will make the misery worth the wait.
Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:1 that, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”
It’s not a you might have a hard time some days…
You may have some off days…
You may be unhappy or sad or depressed or whatever…
It’s a guarantee. You will be in pain.
But with that promise also comes this one…
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” [James 1:2-4 emphasis mine]
There’s much to hope for amidst all of that heartache. And even though we can’t see it, the reward in eternity will be far better matched than that of this Earth.
Day Four Prayer of Release
Lord, I know that I can complain and gripe an awful lot about the bad things. I know that there are things hurting people all over this world that I can’t even begin to imagine. That there is loss and starvation and persecution and murder and any number of things that you never hoped for our lives when you created man. My prayer is that you would help me to keep my heartache and my lack of understanding for your divine plan in check, ever reminding myself that YOU alone are God and you alone are worthy. You, Lord, know the end from the beginning and that all things work together for the glory of your kingdom.