I’m a Christian and though my hope is anchored, I need to be honest: I struggle.
Here, in my heart I’m all mixed up with the extremes of mourning with those who mourn and rejoicing with those who rejoice. It’s graduation season…it’s tornado season and many seasons in between. The words of Ecclesiastes 3 ring loud and clear:
“to everything there is a season
and a time for every matter under heaven.”
For birthing and dying, planting and plucking,
For killing and healing, breaking down and building up,
For loving and hating, weeping and laughing
For mourning and dancing, scattering and gathering
For embracing and pushing away, searching and giving up
For keeping and throwing away
For tearing and mending…
For love, hate, war and peace…and importantly,
a time to keep silence and a time to speak.
I’ve seen them all in the past few weeks…
and maybe so have you.
Who does these things better than God? Who better than God knows the appropriate times and measures for each to happen? He alone possesses the why of it all. Sometimes we might get to know a smidge of the why, but more often it’s better that we don’t.
And yet we’re so surprised and angered, because for some reason when the bottom drops out and the sky caves in, we reckon this is not how the story is supposed to go. Even though it’s exactly how God has shown us the story goes.
Because it’s terrifying.
If someone points this out, there’s an uproar from every direction as if, they’ve behaved inappropriately and accused our beloved God of molesting his creation because, after all, a loving God would never allow…. would He?
He would. He does. He has.
And He will again.
I don’t know exactly. But I do know there’s more to it than we can see and understand on the surface.
I do know that there is a measure of God’s holiness we tend to ignore which exists in exact equal proportion to the love of God we want to claim and profess.
The fact is, without God’s holiness, His love means nothing.
We don’t like to think about that at all.
And I believe the issue is not to be centered upon whether God caused ______________ or allowed ____________.
The issue for us is what good can be born there?
Because there is a greater goodness far better than what we can see and tend focus our lives, energies and hearts upon. Something better than our little kingdoms filled with the bigger barns we build so big and wide so often on shifting sands. I often forget. Do you?
Because there is a greater Kingdom and the purpose of all things is to help us refocus and to keep teaching us how to set our hearts on building there, by sacrificially serving others here. I can be so selfish. Are you?
Because we can’t build in both.
We know it and we feel it. The tension is something we live with every day. And there are days I just want to ignore it and act like it doesn’t matter.
Then it rains.
It rains on both the just and the unjust…. the tsunami, the hurricane, the tornado, the fire, the bomb, the monster, the suicide, the divorce, the diagnosis comes without warning and our little kingdoms and misplaced securities are revealed for what they are, blown to bits and washed away.
Never without purpose… not ever lightly, no. There’s always a groaning— a tearing. A pain-filled rending from on high that rocks the world and shakes it’s foundations so that ONLY what is everlasting and unshakable will stand.
And it does stand….have you seen it?
Just past the violent wind, the earthquake and the fire….when the “noise” stops and there’s a holy hush and God speaks. He says:
“Return to Me.”
I’m just thankful He’s still speaking.
I am grateful He is near.
Then God fills the voids in ways we never could have recognized or allowed otherwise. And we, His Body, are invited to rise up and enter in to bring aid and comfort to the broken so God’s love can finally be experienced.
The stories of bravery, sacrifice, miracle and thanksgiving rise to the surface and God’s presence is felt and He can finally be spoken of aloud.
The Gospel rushes in with chainsaws, blankets, clean water, a listening ear and real hope so God can truly be seen, heard and maybe finally received for a salvation and a Kingdom so much greater than anything that was lost.
Afterwards things will never be the same because they are not supposed to be…they must be different.
As we come alongside, help pick up the pieces we must serve and love others and live by example from the hope we profess because we know this world really is not our home, it really is all about something more and honestly? The best is yet to come. Do you believe it? I do.
Even while I struggle.
Some fellow strugglers can be found here: