Sometimes God is just hard to get. One moment, He is breaking into our lives with His glory and majesty, answering prayer left and right. We are “living the promises!” Then, the earth seemingly erupts beneath us and chaos ensues. Friends betray us. Illness strikes. Or, like St. John of the Cross, darkness falls across our souls like a damp fog. Morning, afternoon, and evening our hearts cry out to God, but He does not answer. The situation remains unchanged.
The moment after the ultrasound that showed that our supposed “miracle baby” was meant for Heaven rather than earth, my body ached with devastating grief. Sorrow is insidious, seeping in and replicating like a virus or a cancer. It hits fast and hard — starting at the chest, knocking the wind out of you, and quickly traveling to every muscle, joint, bone, and nerve.
This year has been one of those years where I have visited the funeral home far too many times and the newborn nursery not nearly enough. Listening to all of these eulogies got me to thinking, what do I want to be remembered for when I am gone? What do I want to leave behind? Words are the most powerful weapon any of us have. The words we speak to others, the words we speak to ourselves, have a long-lasting impact that will persist long after any physical injustices have healed. May our words leave this place a little better than we found it. May our words lead others back to the Light of the World.
I’ve been desperately grasping for a reprieve from anger… grasping for peace amongst the storm of rage. Just when I think I’ve pulled it all together, something happens that creates a massive eruption of spew from my mouth. I keep hearing about righteous anger, but I often wonder if I even have the ability to embody it. Is it possible for a human to have purely righteous anger? Are we able to knock over tables in righteousness…
There were days not too long ago when I felt hopeless. My heart and my life were broken and I felt no hope of ever being happy again. If any of you suffer from depression, then you understand this ache. On those dark days, you think ‘why bother’ or ‘why should I try?’ This is when we know the devil is lurking and must not give in to his lies.
Why can’t I just enjoy myself? Why must my anxiety follow me everywhere? Something really cool happened in all those instances though. I was able to reach out to God within moments of feeling anxious or unsafe. As I spoke with my leader during our one on one, the only thing I really had to say was how grateful I am that God has opened my eyes to how much I’ve grown in Him; how far out of the depths I’ve come, but also how much farther I still have to go.
Beloved, when we allow all of the old things–our old sins, old ways, and our old choices–to pass away, we can begin to truly live a life where “all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17, KJV). Earnestly trying to apply “in Jesus’ name” to all that we do, clears the smoke in our vision. It allows us to see that so many of the things that used to please us were really chains that bound us.
Honestly, I hate writing about this. I would much prefer to talk about something I have already walked through and share how the Lord came through. I love those messages! But that is not this message. Because, let’s be honest, some of life’s messes take a long time to walk through. Sometimes God’s redemption seems a long way off. Sometimes we are hanging on by a thread.
There is no humility in straying from a tried and true path just because we don’t like the flora surrounding it. We must seek out those who can feed wisdom in our lives. Though we can and will learn from our own risk-taking and failures, there is value in seeking out people to disciple us spiritually and practically.
While I was in chaplaincy, I was seeing a wonderful Christian therapist. At times, I felt overwhelmed and deeply inadequate by the needs I faced each day. My heart, my own compassion, could not handle the onslaught of pain and suffering. I remember the day I expressed this to her, she told me, ‘I believe we already have a Savior to handle the world’s pain. We don’t need another one.’