My heart breaks for the burdens of this world. My heart breaks for the circumstances our family has had to endure. My heart breaks with confusion and exhaustion for the journey I have been on physically and emotionally. It's always easier to look at our circumstances as if they were planned and there is an exact purpose or design for them, that God has a reason behind the pain. As I try to wrap my mind around the complexity of this concept I find it to be an oxymoron. You know when two things are placed together that are opposite like "act naturally" or "seriously funny." I fell in love 10 years ago with the most gentle, gracious, loving God who cradles me against His Chest tenderly when my heart breaks but yet I'm also supposed to believe He allows or even causes pain and trials for a purpose? That too me is an oxymoron at it's peak. I'm supposed to be comfortable with the idea that God allows Cancer, Murder, Rape, Human Trafficking, car accidents, the death of a soldier or amputation, school shootings, dying children?
Everything I have ever been taught about God is of His goodness and Sovereignty so to justify the deep wounds this world inflicts upon us as being for a purpose doesn't sit well with me. "Bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have a meaning when they happen to us. They do not happen for any reason that would cause us to accept them willingly. But we can give them a meaning. We can redeem these tragedies from senselessness by imposing meaning on them. The questions we should be asking is not, "Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?" That is really and unanswerable, pointless question. A better question would be "Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?"
I'm sure for some this seems devastating because like me I want to believe my illness has happened for this amazing purpose God has ordained but really I just think life hands us difficulties. It's not fair to think God has chosen me to have the privilege of battling this disease for a larger purpose than someone else who He loves just as much. It's not comforting to a parent who has lost a child to hear there was a purpose because they still have empty arms, its not ok to tell someone dying from Cancer that "there is a reason." There isn't a huge reason and plan initially for the devastation that strikes us but regardless there is a God who is constant, faithful, loving and redeeming. Instead of looking at the burdens we face as a plan God allows I will hold tight to the fact that He is ALWAYS GOOD. God never causes pain or despair but always takes our broken pieces and mends them back together gently for something beautiful.
Wilder offers us the image of a beautiful tapestry.
Looked at from the right side, it is an intricately woven work of art,
drawing together threads of different lengths and colors to make up and
inspiring picture. But turn the tapestry over, and you will see a
hodgepodge of many threads, some short and some long, some smooth and
some cut and knotted, going off in different directions. Wilder offers
this as his explanation of why good people have to suffer in this life.
God has a pattern into which all of our lives fit. His pattern requires
that some lives be twisted, knotted, or cut short while others extend to
impressive lengths, not because one thread is more deserving than
another, but simply because the pattern requires it. Looked at from
underneath, from our vantage point in life, God's pattern of rewards and
punishment seems arbitrary and without design, like the underside of a
tapestry. But looked at from outside this life, from God's vantage
point, every twist and know is seen to have its place in a great design
that adds up to a work of art" (Harold Kushner. Romans 8:28 "We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him."
As I was driving in my car this morning one of my favorite songs came on the radio and the words to that song reminded me that "Even in the dark, even when its hard He will never leave me." Life is hard, we are faced with trials that seem impossible and unfair but it's comforting to know that in the midst of the storms God is still constant, powerful, loving, gracious and gentle. When there aren't answers to why it's in those moments that He picks me up and cradles me against His beating heart rocking me back and forth.
"We do not love God because He is perfect. We do not love Him because He protects us from all harm and keeps evil things from happening to us. We do not love Him because we are afraid of Him, or because He will hurt us if we turn our back on Him. We love Him because He is God, because He is the author of all the beauty and the order around us, the source of our strength and the hope and courage within us, and of other people's strength and hope and courage with which we are helped in our time of need. We love Him because He is the best part of ourselves and of our world. That is what it means to love. Love is not the admiration of perfection, but the acceptance of an imperfect person with all his imperfections, because loving and accepting him makes us better and stronger" Harold Kushner.
There is nothing-no circumstance, no trouble, no-testing that can ever touch me until, first of all it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a GREAT PURPOSE, which I may not understand at the moment. As I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will ever cause me to fret-for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is- that is the rest of VICTORY!!!!