I am so grateful that Christianity is a religion for the weak. Sometimes I find I want God to take away the struggle so that I can shine for Him, so that I can be happy and energetic and feel like doing good things for others. That’s just my pride I know. But I find that what really attaches me to God is learning how to be with Him in the middle of a miracle. I prefer to be on the other side of a miracle looking back on the marvels God has done for me and testifying about that to others. But it’s here in the middle of the miracle in the midst of a slow deliverance that I am finding God’s faithful love, His merciful love. The kind of love that only God has- the kind that truly loves misery and weakness and struggle and imperfections and everything that repulses the world. The gentle, patient God who invites me to trust through the pain, persevere in faith and to remember that life has its seasons of joys and sorrows but that God is always God.
I live near Pittsburgh a city known for potholes, food, artistic bridges, and lots and lots of rivers. Right now I’m temping downtown and have the luxury of walking along one of these beautiful rivers during my breaks. It’s absolutely gorgeous but I noticed something funny. When I’m worrying about something or trying to figure something out I look down towards the sidewalk and focus only on the path. I found that I actually had to remind myself to look at the river, to take in the beautiful view of the city, to watch the geese and their babies waddle across the way.
I found myself wishing it wasn’t so easy to have that tunnel vision, eyes on the path and not on God or the wider world He made me a part of. It even made me a little sad as I realized how much beauty, how much life from animals to my fellow walkers that I had been missing out on by being so focused on myself. It’s easy to do that in times of uncertainty, times of sorrow and I think if I were to share with you some of my struggles you might forgive me but I couldn’t justify it to myself today when I remembered my call as a Christian, a call to love, a call to trust but most especially a call to let God love me as He desires to even when tomorrow is uncertain, even when I deserve it the least because it’s during those times that He gives me the most even when I don’t see it, feel it or understand it. And I found myself promising to be more patient with God, to try and surrender enough to truly let Him finish this beautiful work He began in me and above all trusting that everything will be alright because one day I’ll see the face of God in Heaven.
I am finding of late that I am having an unusual dilemma in the spiritual life. I’ve just been through a period of suffering during which time I did my best to cling to Jesus. Now, however, that I’m starting to feel better I’m hesitant to keep following God because I’m scared to ever go through it again. Looking back I don’t even know how I made it through and contribute it mostly to God’s grace, Him keeping me steady in the face of many storms. Yet instead of thanking God and trusting Him more deeply I am consumed with my personal desire of never suffering like that again and planning a life that will keep me comfortable in my comfort zone.
But the truth is I’m not in control and it’s foolish of me to think that with the right plan I could be. The truth is that God is in control. This normally gives me great comfort but this time, and I admit this with a degree of self-amusement, He doesn’t do what I want Him to do. I feel like a child whose parents feed her vegetables when she wants cake. I know it’s somehow good for me but I still don’t want it. I want what I want just because I want it. And while I had grand plans to offer so much to God I find that what He wants from me more than anything is my stubborn will. He’s found the one thing I cling to, the one thing that hurts to give up and I have to face the question of do I really love God enough to give up everything including my will and having things go my way? I may spend the rest of my life answering that question.