Saturday, October 13, 2012

Masochistic Faith

Sometimes life just doesn't have any answers left, and all we have is our pain.  I have found that pain heightens the senses and dials up the colors of my life.  I may be walking through my daily routine, and out of no where, something terrible and heartbreaking may hit me.  

And suddenly I am more aware.  

This past week, something like that hit us.  It isn't directly our pain and therefore I cannot share the details here.  Only that we are broken, and we are weeping for those who we love dearly.  I heard a godly woman speak today at a conference, and she made the comment "Because I had the peace of God, though I was taken from all I held dear, I didn't shed a single tear!"  And of course I wondered...does the peace of God = no tears?  Can't we experience God's comfort in the midst of our weeping?  Or once we feel His presence are we meant to take a deep breath and pick up again?  I know she didn't mean to make it sound so simple, but as Christians do we try to make grief and faith a formula?

A confession:  I don't know the answers to this - only that we can draw near to God.  And if we are on the floor too exhausted from our pain to even crawl to Him...well, the Bible says "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit..."

Pain makes me more aware of my need for God and His nearness.  

One of my all time favorite song-writers, Rich Mullins writes a song that has ministered to me time and again.  It goes like this...

Well, sometimes my life just don't make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small

So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace?

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It's so hot inside my soul I swear there must be blisters on my heart

Surrender don't come natural to me
I'd rather fight You for something
I don't really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I've beat my head against so many walls
Now I'm falling down, I'm falling on my knees
And this Salvation Army band
Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin

So hold me Jesus, cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace?

I don't enjoy feeling lonely to my core.  I don't enjoy feeling betrayed or lied to, or abandoned.  I don't like to feel fear for the future or the depths of heartwrenching loss. I don't like the way it feels when I have blown it big time.   But what I do enjoy is the comfort I feel and the peace that eventually comes even in the midst of pain.  I do enjoy the enhanced colors I see in the world around me and my increased awareness of God and of His goodness, in stark contrast to the times when this world and His people are not good.  

Don't get me wrong...another confession...I don't always go straight to God in prayer.  Sometimes I stew for a bit, get angry, shake my fist at the world and at God and at people, I hyperventilate, I worry, I wonder if I can fix it...But it wasn't until I caught myself and went to God that I felt any amount of peace at all.  

Pain brings me nearer to God and in that really wow-she-is-a-crazy-christian-lady way, I actually am sort-of grateful for it when it comes.  (but Dear God, please don't send it if unnecessary...thank you.)

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