Life is hard, sometimes it is so hard we cannot even breathe for the weight of it. Sometimes hard is in the death of a loved one or the death of a dream or the death of a relationship. Sometimes hard is the day in and day out living with deadlines, tantrums, unmet expectations and feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes hard is disability, addiction, mental illness, and chronic pain.
Sometimes hard is feeling lost and alone in a sea of diapers, crying babies, monotony, loneliness, dishes and laundry. Sometimes hard is waiting for the letter to come that the adoption is finally settled. Sometimes hard is hearing once again that you have not been accepted for that job. Hard is real life stuff and it is all around us- in the people we know, the people we pass on the streets-the people that appear to be together and happy...
I think that sometimes as Christians, we get uncomfortable with the hard stuff of life. We don't want to talk about it. We don't want others to talk about it. We think it makes us "less than" or make us appear "weak in our faith". We also let the hard stuff define us. We start to think we are useless to God, we don't volunteer, we stay isolated, we stick to what we know, we ignore the callings on our lives and we walk alone amidst a crowd of fellow wounded healers who don't even know we need them as much as they need us.
I am learning to find the beauty in the hard. I don't like it when life is hard, but I love the Jesus that meets me in the hard stuff. I love how He seemingly stops time to give me space to breathe in and out, to remember that I am alive, that blood is pumping through my veins and that this too shall pass. I love how He brings people and moments and lays them at my feet as if to say- "Look Liz! LOOK what I can do in the middle of this mess." I love how He whispers in my ear and into the depth of my soul- "You can take one step in front of the other Liz. You can go through this storm and I will show you how strong you can be as you lean on me."
I love how I remember that it is good and okay to cry, to cry OUT and to cry for no apparent reason other than whatever is happening at the moment is not what I expected, what I wanted, what I thought was "the way it is supposed to be." I love how the place of disappointment reminds me that this world is not my home and then allows me and reminds me that I need my Savior Jesus Christ.
The Bible has SO much to say about suffering...it is just dripping with words that a suffering soul needs- beautiful words that heal, soothe and calm...
4" Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
Psalm 119:50"Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles."
Isaiah 61:3"To grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified."
Beauty for ashes...We trade our sorrows and our ashes, leftover from a life of sin, burned in the pit of hell, and we take beauty...His beauty...We put it on, we wear it, we live it out loud, we let it shine from our souls and shout from our lips.
The hard stuff of life is nothing new to our Savior, who was mocked, betrayed, beaten, crucified on a cross for our sins.
Isaiah 53: 3-5"He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed."
By His wounds, we are healed. He was despised, rejected, lived with sorrow and grief. He was alone. He was pierced, crushed and chastised. And by His wounds, we are healed.
Romans 10:8-108 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
My prayer for all of you during this Easter season is that as you walk amidst the hard stuff in your life, that you will become acquainted with your wounded healer- Jesus Christ.