Sometimes I wonder why I have to go through crap in life. Yes I know I am supposed to ask more eloquently why I go through struggles, or difficulties, or “valleys”. But honestly it doesn’t feel like those things, it feels like crap. And if I weren’t writing a G-rated blog I would actually use a more descriptive term for it. Because that is what it feels like. It feels like life just took a dump all over you.
So why the heck does this all keep happening? Why do I have to keep going through things that feel like my life is set on the loop button? Once a long time ago I told a friend of mine about something tough that happened and ended my monologue with “Eh, live and learn right?” And he replied to me without missing a beat, “Yes Jess, but with you it is live and RE-live.” He said it with a smile, but I never forgot that wise message. You see, I have a problem with learning those life lessons. I feel the pain to be sure, but what about the aftermath? What do I do with the pain?
A favorite pastor of mine frequently talks about how the Israelites in the Bible got saved out of captivity in order to be led to the “promised land” in which they would have their own home to live in freedom. She talks about how the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land was only an 11 day journey, however it took them 40 years to get there. Why did it take them so long?! Did they miss the GPS directions THAT badly?! She goes in to how they had lessons to learn and that they kept missing the significance of them. Instead they kept right on marching around that same mountain over and over again. Resolute in their opinions and set in their ways.
I think I can relate to those Israelites. You see, I got saved…but sometimes I am still wandering around in the desert. For instance, trust has been a really tough pill for me to swallow. How can I trust those around me, or really even trust myself and my own decisions? Well, you know the pill might be difficult to swallow because I might be trying to swallow the wrong one. Last night I read Psalm 118 which says, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” I also read Proverbs 3:5 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Ok but easier said than done. So instead, I have marched around that mountain for the larger portion of my life. It was easy to do that, I was so familiar with the worn out path. I mean what does it really look like to trust in God anyway? And does this mean that every time something bad happens it is purely to teach us a cosmic lesson? No I am not sure that is the point, but I can attest that pain many times does teach a lesson if we let it.
For example, very recently I was presented with a painful situation. And to be honest I really just wanted to close my eyes and dive into the painful abyss. In fact the last time I had a situation similar to this arise, I did just that. I locked myself in my room with the lights off for days. I did not shower, I did not eat or drink, I refused to move. I cried and I yelled at God and then I decided that God must not exist. Because if he did there was no way he was good AND he could make me feel this pain. If he existed, why didn’t he wave a wand and heal my heart, this situation, that person? I wallowed in self-pity and to be honest it felt very comfortable. Because I knew that road. And it felt familiar and dark; like I wouldn’t have to deal with it if I just pulled the covers up a little tighter and slipped into dreams again. It took a long time to get over that one.
So guess what? I’m not doing that this time. Nope. You guys, I don’t want to do that mountain again. No more. I have done this mountain so many times I feel like I should buy a summer home there. But it’s not sunny and it doesn’t have a beach, and I am not willing to invest any more into it.
Here is the thing I realize. God is big. He is bigger, so much bigger than I can imagine. And I have no idea why the hell I have to experience this pain. But I do know that when I don’t fight the fact that I don’t know, and I settle in and rest in the fact that I don’t need to know, that I trust someone that does know and is bigger than me, I get this overwhelming peace. Like when you are young and you go somewhere with your dad. You don’t know where you are going or how to get there, but it doesn’t matter because you know who does. So you just reach up and grab his hand. And he smiles because he knows he is going to take care of you. And he is there to lead you, and comfort you, and ultimately and sincerely LOVE you. And that is beautiful. In fact it is so beautiful that the pain is kind of a little less in my face. It is a little less big because the LOVE is so much bigger than the pain.
And you know what else? People. People in my life, checking on me, praying for me, hugging me, LOVING me. Those people are so important. In fact, it teaches me another thing. What is important to me? These people. They show God’s love to me through their actions and words daily. And those just add to the now greatly expanding bubble of love growing inside of me. Wow, it is so much better than wallowing in that self-pity puddle in my bed. It is actually freeing. Thanks God. Thanks humans. I love you.