Posts Tagged ‘struggle’

Running from pain

We are always running.

 

Okay, let me try this again.

 

trapped

 

I have spent most of my life running. Running from suffering. Avoiding loss. Trying not to get hurt. Afraid.

 

But Jesus wasn’t afraid of suffering. He embraced it on the cross for us. For me. He lived His entire life knowing how and when it would be over. He knew that He would be separated from all those dear to Him. That no one would fully understand Him, or His purpose. That though surrounded by disciples and the multitude, He would still be alone because they couldn’t fully understand His struggle. Only He knew that He was going somewhere they couldn’t follow.

 

I’ve been so afraid of losing that sometimes I held on to things more tightly than I should have. I lived trapped in a box of fear. Always afraid of getting a text, a phone call, a message that spelled doom for myself or my loved ones.

 

But to live in fear of suffering, loss, sickness, or death, is to prevent yourself from fully living. Negative circumstances and pain is unavoidable. But we don’t have to let hurt change and cripple us. All we can do is pray for strength.

 

Recently I went to go watch a movie that displayed the relationship Jesus has with those of His children who are suffering. In this movie the protagonist not only got to meet Jesus but he got to meet God as well. He began to accuse God of leaving Jesus when He (God) let Him (Jesus) die on the cross. But then God showed the protagonist of this story, His (God’s) own nail-pressed hands. God too was wounded by Jesus’ sacrifice. God told him (the protagonist) that He (God) never left Jesus. Just like He (God) never leaves us.

 

Yes you will face overwhelming circumstances, but God will never leave you. Jesus will never turn His face from you. There is no one better to have on your team. God is more than a mother or a father; he is also a brother, a sister, and a friend. He has your back. He will carry you when you are weak. When you forget Him He will still remember you. I have turned away from God. I felt like He had deserted me. But even as I turned from Him: He kept me, protected me, and He drew me back to His side.

jesushand

 

Advertisements

Chasing after the wind

Recently I have been struggling with feelings of low self worth. I don’t understand why God made me, why I am necessary in this world, or what I can really offer.

Lost Teddy
I wonder if other people can see me the way I see my self. Sinful, empty, and broken.

I go through each day exhausted no matter how much I sleep. I’m not only tired in body, but in soul, and in mind.

I try to turn to God, but the world seems grab more of my attention. I remember that God is love, but I am confronted with the fact that though God is love, there is so much real suffering in the world. I don’t blame God for this. But I just wonder when enough will be enough. When will there be enough rape, murder, hate, gossip, and unfairness. Why do children have to experience a hunger that eats away at their insides? Why do women have to walk around in fear of their sexual freedom? Why does the dark skinned 4 year old girl at my church look longingly at the light skinned girl who comes to visit and say she wishes she had her skin?

hemingway-quote

Why are families broken, why does love hurt, why does friendship fade, why is loneliness and hopelessness a disease that takes away so many lives.

Our world is so messed up. Yes, there is so much beauty, and there are so many people with amazing souls that bring light to those around them. But never have I been so aware that this world is not my home. Never have I so longed for a place in heaven. Not that I could fathom that I’d ever deserve to be there. But simply because I’m tired of being here.

I long for the place where peace, hope, and love is not just a mental construct that you use as a bridge to find your happy place, but it rather an actually reality.

I would try to end this post with something positive, but I rather be honest. God gave us the book of Psalms, but He also gave of the book of Ecclesiastes and Job. As Christians I think we have convinced ourselves that if we follow God, we should constantly be happy, joyful, at peace, and one with God. But the simple truth is God did not promise we wouldn’t face this hardship, and this emptiness.

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”- Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

God_is_real_xlarge

part-time Atheist.

“No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6; God’s Word Translation)

 

 

According to the bible, without faith, it is impossible to please God. The writer of Hebrews, then goes on to say, that having faith means 1) believing that God exists, and 2) believing that there is some benefit found in following him.

 

If you believe in God, but you don’t believe that there is any benefit to following him—you don’t have faith. And since knowing that God is good (Psalm 100:5, Mark 10:18, Psalm 119:68), and knowing that he rewards those who seek him (Philippians 4:19, James 1:17, Isaiah 41:10), is inextricably tied to who God is—denying his benefits is equivalent to denying his existence.

 

In Matthew 14:31, after Peter stepped out of the boat and began to sink, Jesus rebuked him saying, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

In that moment, when Peter lost faith, he doubted who God was, and what God could do for him. In essence, in losing faith, he called into question God’s existence.

 

Often, when Christians gather together in groups at bible study, after church, or during prayer meetings, they sit down and just ‘wonder’ at the disbelieving Atheist.

“Tsk tsk” they say, completely aghast. “How could anyone live without Christ?” “I simply do NOT know(!) how I’d ever make it without God,” they sigh.

 

And what do the rest of do when we aren’t chiming-in in agreement? We nod our heads, raise our hands, and shout mercy(!), as we pity the poor unbeliever. Looking down from our church-bench on Saturday or Sunday, we wag our fingers the shortsighted atheist—who ‘luckily,’ of course, aren’t present to offer any rebuttal.

 

The fascinating thing is that when we claim to be Christians, yet become so lost in worry, fear, and doubt, we become no different than Atheists, who are at the very least consistent in their lack of faith. Like Peter who one day declared to Jesus, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” but then the next day swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” (Mark 14: 31,71) Our relationship with God often wavers depending on our environment. And God forbid, we enter into severe trials or struggles, we sometimes completely loose faith in God. We become like Job and wonder as he wondered, “Why did I not die at birth?Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?” (Job 3:11)

 

It’s at moments like this, that we no longer believe that God rewards those who seek him.

 

We ask ourselves, “Where was God when…” or “How could God let this happen?” We look at our failure and our shortcomings and we wonder what we even gain by following God. At those moments when we doubt God’s goodness and his benefits, we are actually doubting his existence. We go to church, but we are worried about our future, our family, our job – or lack of a job. And at these moments of intense worry, pain, and doubt, ask yourself if you really believe that God exists.

 

 

Image

 

Wake Up


Image
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:3-5

I sit silently. Here in the pouring rain. Happy at last.

I’ve found it.
Or maybe it found me.

A true covering for this pain.

Now I cry, and the world cries with me.

It seems fitting.

On this long journey I searched for one thing. Validation. Proof that I was intelligent, worthy, capable, valued. For years I was stumbling in the dark for words of praise I never found. My efforts were in vain—my cries were in vain. My self-induced misery was for naught. I was beside myself with grief. Yet, I myself, created the hell I lived in.

My hope hardened. It resigned itself to a mere existence of should-of, would-of, could-of… but didn’t. I lost myself in despair, until to despair itself was the norm. But one day, I woke up. The nightmare was self-perpetuating, and I realized that I, myself, was not powerless. Sleep could only hold me for as long as I let it. So, I woke up.

But still that thing I longed for was beyond reach.

I scrambled for crumbs.

I stood idly by like the woman in the bible. Nameless.

———————————–
Jesus withdrew to Tyre.
A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out,
“Lord, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

Jesus answered her not a word.

The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
————————

Misery is no respecter of persons. Jesus came first to the Jews, and she a Gentile, sought Jesus at an inopportune time in an inconvenient place. There were people with greater burdens than her own. Her issue—not insignificant, but at such a time—impertinent.

Yet, like Jacob wrestling with the Angel, she fought with Jesus. She cried out to him in a loud voice. In her distress, strength filled her voice. It was her daughter. And as a mother, the pain could not have been greater than if it was she herself.

Yet Jesus answered not a word.

We are so fond of thinking of God as unhearing and unfeeling. But His silence speaks louder than words. What is He trying to tell you?

————————
“…Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
————————

Even she, a Gentile. Unworthy, sinful, desperate. Yet she knew of her condition. She did not bow down in shame. She did not seek the validation of the Jews. But she came to the one person who could look past all outward appearances and conditions to examine her heart. Jesus read her need. He saw her struggle. He saw her faith. And when no one else would validate her—Jesus did.

———————-
Jesus’ disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
—-
Jesus spoke to her, “Woman. You have great faith! Your request is granted.”

And at that moment, her daughter was healed.
———————-

Despite her struggles, pain and burdens, In Him she found her help.

She found relief.

Wake up. Your help is here. He is here.