After a very heavy past week, I woke up this morning with a reminder on my heart. For those of us who have gone to church our whole lives, we know the verses. “For all have sinned and fall short”, “For God so loved the world”… we know that we live in a broken world and we know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we can have eternal life with him in heaven. For those of us who have made that choice, we also know there’s more to it than that. There’s a call to abandon your old life, to take up your cross and follow Him, and to die to yourself – surrendering your whole life to Jesus. It the most amazing thing you will ever experience, being a Jesus Follower. I can promise that. God has shown me his grace, forgiven me for my short comings, and in Him I find peace, healing and rest. But it’s not always easy.
All around me lately, I have seen hurt and pain. There are dear family and friends in my life who are suffering: physically, mentally and emotionally. My heart is overwhelmed and breaking for these people. I am so overwhelmed by emotion, that I feel like my heart physically aches for them. I wish I could fix things. I’m a fixer and when things go wrong I automatically like to take charge and do what I can to make a situation better for someone. I can’t do that right now, and it’s surprising to me that I am okay with that. The debate that has been going in my mind for the past two days is that through all this heartbreak I am feeling for the people around me, I still need to show God’s joy. His joy needs to be my strength. That’s what makes it not easy. We live in a broken world. A world full of sinners…that might make some of you uncomfortable to think about but it’s true. A world full of more pain and hurt than we could ever imagine. As Christian’s we are called to be lights…even when we are hurting or watching things happen around us that we don’t understand, we are called to shine. I find my strength in knowing that God sent us Jesus to make our imperfections perfect again. It’s simple really, we just need to ask Him.
It doesn’t always work the way we want it to. That’s a hard one to explain. God’s will isn’t always what I want or hope for. I’ve heard the question: why does God let bad things happen? It’s simple: he doesn’t. People do. It goes back to the broken world, filled with broken people, who have the ability to make choices. Choices that hurt people. Choices that destroy lives. But also choices to change themselves for the better. Why am I writing about this? I don’t usually write about things like this, but to me it’s very important that people understand that 1) Becoming a Jesus follower does not mean bad things are never going to happen to you 2) We cannot play God in our lives and the lives of others around us 3) God has given us free will to choose our own paths in life – this means that we aren’t always going to get what we want and ask for and 4) Even if life feels like it is too much to handle, He promises us He will always be with us. I dislike when people say “God will never give you more than you can handle”. That’s not entirely biblical and I don’t really believe it to be true. God tells us in 1 Corinthians that he will never let us be tempted more than we can bear, but that’s not the same thing. Hebrews 13:5 has a promise, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”. In a broken world this comforts me more than ever. There are so many things I will never understand, yet I know that God is always with me and I know that I am called to find joy in Him and share it with others. Maybe you’re reading this and you’ve never experienced grace or forgiveness, maybe you are hurting and want to be able to rest in these promises I’ve mentioned, or maybe you just think I’m a nut, and I’m cool with that too. I challenge you to seek this in your life if you have questions, and know that God is always there and you are not alone.