The Lord gives and takes away. It’s true, it’s in the Word and the Word is Christ Himself, where my faith in it’s authenticity rests. He doesn’t just take away the things we think are “bad”, He can take away what we believe is “good” as well. It calms me and revives me when I see His hand in a problem, but what about when great parts of our lives feel like their being messed with? Or the love in a marriage runs dry? Or the delight of a friendship is gone overnight? Or a life lost, when death happens? What if these things are taken not only for a season, but forever? Was I ever entitled to these things? If I feel that I was, then I am not going to do well when hard times come. Living in a state of gratutide can change all of it, the way I see it, the way I handle life when I lose something, the level of commitment I have to turn to Christ in all situations.
Last night I was thinking about the many things ‘taken’. I was upset because I had worked so hard in some areas of my life and completely let other areas fall to pieces. Like a child, I was pouting and angry and putting all the blame on everyone but myself. So began to write in my journal and in writing I saw a piece of Christ I had never seen before.
As a young woman I tried to find happiness and joy by doing all the things that took it away. It has been quite a while and I am now living a comfortable life, complete with a husband, children, interests and the ability to pursue them, and people who love me. As I’ve come to know Christ I have found a place in Him that can’t be taken. I can’t describe with words how I know who I am in Him, but it’s a very permanent, content, comforting place, in which I won’t be forced to leave and I won’t ever have to leave. In this place, I have started to feel ‘entitled’ to certain things.
When my 2 of my Grandparents died within weeks of each other last year, I crumbled inside. I felt close to both, but one of these precious women was more than a Grandmother to me. I am still upset when I think about the day I said good-bye to her and all the days since when I wished I could do it over because there are so many more things I would have said. Better things. She was so young, 72. How could this have passed through the Lord’s hands? How could He have okay’ed this?
Christ, You said that no matter what my circumstances that I am to find joy in You, in Your Holy Presence. I couldn’t see the joy.
There are painful things happening in my heart right now. You all know that I blog about everything, like a heart torn out and placed on a sleeve, but there are some topics off limits- I won’t blog about the problems of those closest to me. Right now things aren’t going so well with one close to me. It’s killing me. I am having the hardest time forgiving and finding nothing but pain and emptiness where there once was better feelings. How could any of this pass through Him? How can any of this lead to knowing more of Him?
And then I realized I wasn’t ready. I needed to be ready to let go of all things and to respond with gratitude and it all took me off guard. I need to be ready and willing to lose everything and release all my attachments, even attachments to feelings, in order to place Christ at the Head. When Christ takes His rightful place in my life, gratitude is the best way to desribe the state of living.
Loosing my Grandmothers really shocked the **** out of me. I was not prepared for that. More recently, the pain of having a broken relationship took me off guard because it sneaked up on me over time. I answered both of these with anger, some screaming and crying out, and definitely not gratitude.
Last night I had a hard time sleeping and so as I was writing it all out I realized that in Him, I am never stuck. Even yesterday, when the day seemed endless and I felt the strain of life’s journey, Joy (Christ is my Joy) is still attainable. The Christ in which I reside is Joy and the state of being joyful is somewhere ‘in’ here, I just have to search for it. Like a hidden treasure.
I’m searching for Him as I become aware of His companionship. Sometimes I stop searching because I am so caught up in my day to day life. I am always aware of Him, I spend time with Him, and I know things about Him. But there are hidden treasures, He says, and I can seek them out. And that’s why an appropriate response to suffering would be gratitude, because I am getting this rare opportunity to to know Him by searching for the Joy in Him, even though I am still in the pain.
Had I had a wonderful day yesterday, had I not been suffering yesterday, I would not have sought out the Christ I was desperate for. I would not have needed His Life in a new way. Normally I don’t handle negative feelings well. I lash out, and it’s some sort of an addictive release for me to get it all out. And while it does relieve the pain, it doesn’t make anything better. Last night I discovered the Joy in feeling gratitude for this hardship I am going through. Was I still a mess? Yup. Am I in the same pain I was in last night? No. Today I am grateful. I am grateful for the things it’s hard to be grateful for. How did I get there? Through Him, I had to walk in His power, and I had to search out the Joy, and in that I found thankfulness.
Thank you for reading.