Grief and pain can look like this…tears aren’t always a precursor to depression and utter sorrow. Sometimes, it looks like a well coifed and dressed, faith-filled, prayer warrior. Just because I trust God, doesn’t mean I’m immune to pain or that I don’t fear what I can’t see. Believing in Christ doesn’t make tragedy skip my address; sometimes it seems to turn the porch light on for it-if I’m honest. Walking with Christ means that I’m close to Him in every way, I experience intimacy and joy like I never knew possible, but I also know terror, fear, and heartbreak on a level I wouldn’t wish on an enemy.
The closer we get to Christ, the more we qualify ourselves as a true follower, a disciple, someone willing to give it ALL up for the chance to truly know the Creator of the universe. Truly living for Him seems to put a target on my back for increased difficulty, intense periods of relentless warfare, and painful life interruptions that challenge the core of who I am and my expectations of what it means to live a “good” life.
Truth of the matter, God owes us nothing. There are no trouble-free guarantees within the Christian calling. True Christianity requires death to your will, plans, and timeline. Death, brokenness, and total surrender are the prerequisites for everlasting life, unquantifiable joy, and inexplicable peace.
Choosing Christ is choosing suffering, discomfort, and loneliness. Ouch. I can’t believe I wrote that, but it’s so true. Comfort and planned moments of happiness give way to the unforeseen and tumultuous storms that shake up everything and bring you to your knees literally. Whether crying out in anguish or silent in resigned despair, the fellowship of suffering with Christ doesn’t sound or look as privileged as one might naively believe.
So why would anyone willingly make a choice to give up their rational way for His backwards and narrow path? Who in their right mind would choose to follow Him? Perhaps someone who would rather a chance at realized purpose over risk-free living…maybe someone like you?
I know I’m not the only one who is dealing with tragedy and trauma yet again, thus once again finding myself in the waiting room of life reading Romans 8:28 hoping desperately that this too works out for my good. I know I’m not the only one in an extended period of crushing, turmoil, and stretching. I know I’m not the only who thought things would be better by now. I’ve wept and cried my heart out. I don’t have anything else left to lose. That’s why I’m writing again. That’s why I will vlog again. I have no idea how these chapters fit into my story, but I’m convinced that my pain, loss, and delay are intentional in God’s hands. I have to keep believing that my story will not end here.
I have no idea why I keep getting close to what seems like an answered prayer for turnaround, only to be denied access over and over and over again. I tell myself that there is a purpose in this, and that all I have to do is keep believing and trusting God, and one day I’ll wake up holding my promise. As correct as this can be, I would be untruthful if I didn’t tell you about the uncomfortable process that comes with your new territory.
Why should you still believe in a God that allows bad days and prolonged pain? What if your faith isn’t enough? What if your answer doesn’t come in time? How do you keep going?
One step at a time. One moment at a time. I don’t even attempt one day at a time, because even those can overwhelm me in my moments of fragility and frustration. I change the channel and let songs of worship speak for me. I cry, rage, and talk to my village. I absorb the silence of this season. I resist the urge to try to “figure it out.” I let go over and over, and over again. I give up my fear, expectations, and plans each time I feel the familiar internal triggers to “make it happen.” I believe in motivation and empowerment, but there are some places only true desperation will grant you access to.
What you’re experiencing isn’t just an inconvenience or an attempt to mess with your schedule, rather it’s an overhaul of everything you thought held you up, in order to usher you into yet another dimension of your calling and purpose.
These past two and a half years have made me question my faith, my God, and my very existence. The more I tried to do what God said, the more hellish and excruciating my life became. Am I reading your mail? Perhaps you’re just as confused as I was. I mean it’s one thing to run from God and blatantly make the choice to defy His instructions, but to be attacked on the road He handpicked for you? What gives?
This is my current reality, and for once I’m starting to get it..it’s not about me. It’s for me. It’s for you. Joseph’s life was a myriad of detours, delay, and denial, yet it was all for a pivotal legacy altering moment. Job didn’t see God in his suffering until he had come to the end of himself and what he thought to be true. Jesus was born to die so that we might live. It’s always been bigger than comfort and serenity. It’s time to let go of the fairytale of the Christian life.
Our life’s meaning isn’t found on sunny days when trouble has yet to barge in, rather, the fabric of your identity is stitched together in the deep waters of adversity. Simply put, no one grows without pressure.
Let’s push back and live a life worth fighting for.
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”
1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT