They will seize everything you value and carry it away.’ ”…(1 Ki 20:6).
Sometimes I get tired of the Sunday school answers, the ones that paint this perfect idyllic picture of following God.
Something changes in your heart when the Sunday school answer just doesn’t cut it anymore. Sometimes the enemy seizes everything we value and carries it away and we are brought to a true crossroads in our faith. A place where we are thrust into a crisis of faith, where we must choose what we really believe Jesus to be like.
Jesus doesn’t change. It’s out attitude about Him, when life seems unfair that must be reshaped by His love. I get it, that even sounds like an easy answer. You may be facing the reality of a health crisis, the death of a loved one, divorce, betrayal, loss and abuse. If that’s the case, I am deeply sorry. Some things in life don’t have answers attached to them. I think that’s part of my problem. I keep seeking for an answer, when a suitable one may never be found.
I know what you’re thinking, then what’s the point? What’s the point of following God and doing what He wants? Is God some masochistic monster who enjoys our suffering? Does He delight in our unfair treatment? Truth is, I cannot give you the answers to those questions, because even though I can tell you that He is love, you won’t believe it until you are fully convinced in your own heart and mind about who God is.
Our feelings and circumstances in life are always changing. Therefore, we cannot base our understanding of who God is on our own limited perspective. There are some mornings when I get up and think, ok, seriously God, I’ve had enough. We can move on from this now, please. Apparently, there’s something more about grace, perseverance, and faith that He needs to do in my heart. That is where His love and my limited understanding of Him collide. That is where new life begins for me as I make myself a living sacrifice before Him.
Whenever a sacrifice was made it was for the purpose of redemption. When we say that we are to be a “living sacrifice,” it means that we must daily die, so that God can breath resurrected life in us. I’m not always very good at this, sometimes, I just want to skip the dying part for the day and reach for the magic wand. God doesn’t wave magic wands, He slowly, and with great patience, makes us new. It’s the process of being made new that I don’t always care for.
As I was contemplating the reality of pain in our world, I thought of one simple scripture, “Jesus wept.” This is by far one of the most meaningful moments in all of Scripture. It shows a side of Jesus’ humanity that understands our pain, suffering, and loss. A shared perspective that says, “I get it, life is hard and I am grieving with you.”
When the enemy carries away all the things we love, do not view it is a loss, but seek for something to gain in it. I am learning in life that God doesn’t always replace those things with what we had before, but if we are willing, what we find is more of His grace, goodness, patience, long-suffering, and love.
Sometimes Jesus wants to stamp grace upon our hearts when we are reaching for the magic wand. As we are set free by grace, wrong thinking about God being some masochistic monster dies at the door of His love. Sometimes what I need Jesus to do is not bring me back all that I once had, but instead, to weep with me in my pain. I need Him and His presence in the present moment to bring comfort, delight, and joy when life just doesn’t make sense.
Lord, I release my life to you, all of it. I release all my expectations, hopes, and dreams. Resurrect new life in me today. Truly, I am lost without your love. God, when I say that I need you, it is not some passive thought or request. It is an honest, raw and real need in my heart because, without you, I cannot make it through life. I cannot walk this journey you have paved for me. Grow my heart in love. Forgive me when I falter and stray from your love. Make me more like you I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.