I’ve had my moments lately of head-slamming frustration, fist-shaking anger, prideful temper tantrums where I stomped my foot and marked my territory and made it clear that I’m the boss of me.
Yeah… God won’t stand for that.
Sometimes, like just sucks. It sucks the life right out of you. Sucks your heart dry until all you feel capable of doing is crying, yelling, or disappearing. Anybody who argues against that has never been passionate about anything, has never trusted another human being completely, has never taken a single chance or stepped outside of their comfort zone. Successful people aren’t born successful; success is the result of diligence in the face of fatigue, perseverance in the face of obstacles, willpower in the face of isolation, commitment in the face of disregard. Success implies a necessary challenge; otherwise it would be nothing more than surviving. I don’t want to survive my losses — which are as much a part of life as breathing; I want to succeed from them.
The common misconception about what it means to live for Christ is that you suddenly get a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card.
It’s quite the contrary. You’ll find yourself facing sudden giants you never saw coming. You’ll find yourself hiking the loneliest mountains you never saw on the horizon. And you might pause in your walk to ask why on earth life became so much harder than it was without God in it.
Atheists (in my own personal experiences) typically possess this generalization that Christians are weak-minded, gullible people with no real desire to learn about how life works, with no real desire to become a successful person who willingly educated themselves about the real world. For any atheists that might be reading this, I dare you to try Christianity on for size. It isn’t for the faint of heart, I’ll tell you that much.
As a person surrenders to the Lord, they begin to see their life and the world around them as if for the first time. It is colorful. It is vivid. It is breathtaking. But the visual is no longer shrouded in old defense mechanisms designed to shield us from the pain. When others fail us or break our hearts we are forced to experience the pain in humility. No retaliating, no bitter words of contempt; nope. It’s forgiveness instead of blame.
I dont care if you’re the Dalai Lama himself; that’s rough. It unnatural to us. It goes against everything we feel entitled to do. And that’s precisely why so much of mainstream Christianity is a dishonest lifestyle in contrast to the true living God.
Success is not living in abundance any more than winning the lottery makes you rich; money comes and goes, friends. Integrity, loyalty, honor: these are the truths that endure forever.
The suffering that comes with walking in the footsteps of Jesus is not a sign that you aren’t Christian enough. It’s a sign that you’re alive, and that quite possibly… You’re getting it right.
Suffering is not from God, period. He is not the source of our many pains. And the fact that we aren’t miraculously rescued from our plights every single time we encounter them is NOT an indication that God is “punishing” us, or that we don’t “deserve” His mercy. In actuality, our very disbelief that we are forced to suffer at all is a great example of how little we understand of what the grace of God really is, and what mercy truly means.
His peace does not remove the problem any more than courage removes the source of fear. If that were the case, it wouldn’t be called peace and it wouldn’t be called courage. Courage requires an element of doom, it demands a certain challenge within us. Likewise, peace would not be peace without the presence of chaos. Yin and yang; that’s life. That’s real.
To suggest to a hurting person that God believes you can handle what you’re going through is like saying God is made of marshmallows. Ridiculous. If we could handle it on our own, what would be the point? He created us and He died for our salvation because He loved us unconditionally, and because He knew we needed Him. Do we bring children into this world because we are excited to have a baby and immediately send it off into the real world? That would be a huge waste of nine BRUTAL months, if you’re a woman. Naturally, we create our children with immense love, and a huge part of that love is tied into the daily things we do for them. Teaching them how to feed themselves, how to walk, how to read, how to take a bath and brush their teeth and handle bullies and be a friend to others. Those are the most meaningful parts of being a parent; the most beautiful aspects of having a child.
God knew we would be lost and hopeless without Him, and that is exactly why He paid the ultimate price for our redemption, so that we could hold on to the hope above all hope when there was no hope to be seen around us. We can do all things through Christ who STRENGTHENS US. Not through Christ who makes our life ice cream flavored happiness with rainbow celebrations in place of grief.
But I’m finding my own little rainbows in the middle of the thunderstorms. And the intensity of these rainbows is more brilliant than any box of Lucky Charms ever could be.