Is anyone out there really struggling? I know some of you are because I read your comments and prayer requests and my heart hurts for you. I hope you don't think you're alone...I've been having a horrible time lately.
My cat Phil disappeared (I think a coyote got him), my dad has cancer and it's not looking good, my mom died a few years ago, and all my friends have gotten married and had families while here I sit, alone, losing everything that matters most to me. I'm sick of it. I'm tired of this world and the beatings that just keep coming. It seems that every time I get back on my feet a new blow comes that takes the wind right out of me. So I finally exploded and told God I was done with Him, and following Him, and everything that goes with it. The funny thing is that in this white hot anger that took over for a few weeks (anger is my default when things are going bad), I couldn't shake the feeling that no matter how angry I got or how hard I tried to run from God, He wasn't letting go of me. The truth is that I can try to walk away from God, but in my soul I know there's nowhere else to go. I know for a fact that sex or drugs or money, power and success, are never going to satisfy me. I know that this world is disappointing and that every relationships ends in pain because of sin and what it's done to the world we live in. So even as I tried to walk away from my faith, I couldn't shake the feeling that it was firmly holding onto me. And I can't tell you what a relief that was.
It was as if God was saying, gently but firmly, that it was perfectly ok to unload all my fears and hurt and loneliness on Him without ever having to fear that He would give up on me. It was the perfect playing out of Psalm 62:8 which says:
"Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us."
I think I have to tendency to put a prettier face on scripture than is actually there. There's nothing pretty about pouring your soul out to God in times of agony or despair, but there is something beautiful about it. It's beautiful that I have one relationship in which I can be completely honest at all times. That no matter what I say or do, I can't ruin it. And no matter how rotten this life gets, God's love for me stays constant and true - even when my love for Him is so shaky and pitiful. His desire is not that I put on a nice Christian facade and pretend that everything is great because I'm trying to follow Jesus; it's that I live honestly with Him, asking Him to make me what I can never be on my own. It's a fact that this world is going to keep trying to kill me - it kills everyone in the end - but it's also a fact that this world doesn't get the last say.
Jesus said "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart: I have overcome the world." Moses had tribulation. Joseph, Mary, Esther, David, and Daniel had tribulation. All of the disciples and John the Baptist had the worst of tribulations and Jesus Himself suffered more than all of them combined. It's silly and dangerous for me to read their stories and think that for some reason God owes me a better life than they had. One of my mom's favorite sayings when we were kids was "nobody ever promised you fair" and she was dead on. Nowhere in scripture does God promise me fair, or success, or a dream life. On the contrary He promises that there will be suffering here because that's the natural outcome of sin, and we choose sin on a daily basis. But the truth I need to hang my hat on is that He also promises Himself and an eternity of fairness and dreams-come-true to those who belong to Him. On top of that, Jesus promised peace and abundance in this life to those who abide in Him. I need to work on that. Peace would go a long way in this messed up world.
I'm not struggling as much as I was just a month ago but I know that there will be other blows, so for now I'm working on replacing the lies that are stuck in my head about God with the truth of who He really is. The biggest one is that He doesn't love me as much as He loves everyone around me and that's why things keep going so horribly wrong. I'm getting back into my Bible and asking Jesus to show me how much He loves me because I can't see it on my own. And each morning the verse that pops into my head is one Moses prayed so many years ago:
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. - Psalm 90:14
If you're struggling too, feel free to join me in this prayer each day. God loves us more than we realize and much more than our circumstances seem to imply. Feel free to comment below so I can be praying for you. You're not alone here.