Well, today is Epiphany—the official last day of Christmas. How many of you are ready to close the door on this Christmas Holiday? I, for one, am. I’ve eaten too much rich food, and don’t feel all that wonderful physically. I have grieved deeply and profoundly for those who were not physically present this Christmas—those who have gone unto eternity and those I would normally have seen but didn’t because of the shutdowns.
I have observed once again, the deep grief of my children—which sends me to my knees praying, “Dear God please help them, and show their dad and I how to help them.”
I have also been on my knees praying for our country—for the deep, deep distress I see—spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but Wow!! Wow!! Will things get better? That is what we all hope and pray for.
Today, my husband and I spent some time in prayer together for our children and our country. At the end of our time in prayer, I started singing an old song to him, “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden”, and we both smiled.
Sometimes I think God is singing this song to us. Why? Because I think that as people we error in two extremes when it comes to our view of God. We either fear giving Him our lives because we think that He will make us suffer and be miserable if we do, or we think He is like a ‘kind Santa Claus’ and He will give us anything we want—health, wealth and happiness, and if He doesn’t meet our expectations—we think He doesn’t truly care for us, and we cut Him dead.
Both of these extremes are lies that I needed to deal with.
I had this first opinion about God before I came to know Him. I thought to truly follow God, one would need to suffer, be persecuted and be miserable. I thought if I gave my life to God, He would in turn say, “Great–I’ve got you now–now let’s make you suffer little girl!!” (Yes–imagine the witch speaking to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz–and you’ll have the right tone of voice for this imaginary conversation I was having with God.)
I found that scripture didn’t support that view of God. In Matthew 7: 7-11, we find this idea that if we –as humans know how to give good gifts to our children, (and believe me at Christmas time—my husband excels at giving his children gifts that delight their hearts), then how much more does our Heavenly Father give good gifts to His children. We also, have the story of the Prodigal son, where the Father in this story shows us this view of God, as loving, willing to forgive anything, and desiring a relationship with His children.
Jesus, who is the visible view of the invisible God, showed us a God who cared for us, and had compassion on us. He healed people of leprosy and diseases, and gave people back their sight, and their ability to walk. He brought a young man back to life and gave him back to His mother, and a girl back to life and gave her to her parents. (After Sean died—I found it difficult to read those stories in scripture—as God did not give me back my son.)
In fact, I errored on the other side of my view of God. He didn’t heal my son and didn’t give Sean back to his family and friends. God failed me. God disappointed me. I questioned His existence.
But Jesus—Jesus is a truth teller, and He has always and only told us the truth. He told us that, “In this world, you will have many trials and sorrows, but take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Jesus also told us that there would be a cost to following Him—that we might be hated, persecuted, and killed because of Him.
That is what I realized—Jesus is a truth teller—He never promised me a Rose Garden–in other words—suffering is a part of living. In fact the greatest joys in my life have come after suffering—like having a baby—they are such a joy—but getting them into the world involves suffering.
The question is—do we suffer, and have God walk through the suffering with us, or do we try to muster through it on our own.
I decided to take the comfort, love and encouragement God was offering me, and get over myself. I decided to stop throwing my little fit, because God didn’t perform the way I wanted Him to. God is not a puppet whose strings I pull. God is God—and His ways are higher than my ways, His thoughts higher than my thoughts.
“In this world, we WILL have trials and sorrows, but take heart, because Jesus has overcome this world.” Jesus has overcome this world—He has risen from the dead—and SO SHALL WE!!!! So Shall We!!
May you be Encouraged!!