You know how when people ask you at church how you’re doing, you automatically say something to the effect of ‘I’m doing pretty good, how about you?’, even when you’re about as far away from ‘doing good’ as you can possibly get?
Your life may be falling apart around you:
– A relationship breakup
– A health issue or sick loved one
– Finances are a mess
– Can’t figure out what God’s plan is for your life
– You’re struggling with an addiction/major issue
But we still feel like, as Christians, we’re supposed to know how to be content in the midst of these situations. To be ‘doing good’ no matter how bad things get. I mean, look in the bible:
Paul said he figured out how to be content in any situation, then he backs it up by signing praises while chained up in a dungeon.
Joseph stays faithful to God while spending years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
Job…I mean what can you say? This guy, in the midst of a specific and directed attack by the devil, refuses to curse God; despite the fact that he knows he didn’t deserve his treatment.
So we feel like we’re supposed to have a stiff upper lip, unquestioning blind faith, and above all, never to say thinks like ‘life really sucks right now.’
Having just completed a season – multiple years – of my life that pretty much felt like a barren wasteland, I have a new perspective on these times.
Here’s that perspective: you learn and grow way, way more during the times in your life where it seems like all the marrow has been sucked from your bones. When life seems to be only shades or gray, rather than vibrant color. When the soundtrack of life is more like fingernails on a chalkboard than a tuned up orchestra.
When life is good and well and easy, it’s pretty natural to coast.
I completed an offroad triathlon about a week ago. In the bike ride portion, there are some sections that are flat and easy. It’s hard for me to push myself to the breaking limit in those sections. Usually, I’m tempted to sit back and just pedal at a normal pace.
But in the sections that are steep, covered in loose rocks and dirt, filled with deep pits and large, sharp rocks that want nothing more than to wreck your bike, I don’t need any extra motivation to go all out. There’s no temptation to coast, because I can’t. The only way I can climb those insanely tough sections is if I give more than I thought I had.
Those are the parts of the race that ‘sucks’, and those are exactly the same parts that makes the accomplishment worthwhile. I don’t tell people about the easy sections later when I talk about the race. I talk about the parts that nearly broke me, but that I overcame.
I prove myself worthy by overcoming the hardest challenges the course can throw at me.
It’s the same in life. When, by God’s grace and mercy, you make it through the darkest days, the uncertain days, the days where hope seems to be a cruel weapon rather than the rope that keeps you from falling; those are the days that define who you are. Those are the days that strip away the things that are holding you back, keeping you complacent.
I didn’t want to spend two years of my life being refined and prepared. But as I am about to complete the transition into the life that I asked for, I see now that God did exactly what needed to be done. Only he knew what changes needed to occur in my life, so only he was qualified to put me in situations to bring those changes about.
In time, you will gain understanding as to why he has allowed you to bear the burdens which are in your life.
So when life sucks, please, remain faithful to God. I promise he is remaining faithful to you.