Like most people, I started 2017 off with lots of plans, goals, and hopes. January started strong, but quickly fizzled out. Before I knew it my world went into a violent tail spin and here, almost one year later, I am still not recovered.
By early November, I started making a list of everything that had gone wrong this year:
*Lost a job I loved.
*Took another job that is great, but pays me basically nothing.
*Lost friendships when I stood up for another friend.
*Went into financial ruin taking care of my precious fur baby.
*Witnessed family members go through difficult times as I stood by helpless.
*Watched as friends who I thought I knew slowly revealed their true colors and left me feeling sad and lost.
*Experienced heartache as those who said they would walk with and support me, slowly abandoned me when I no longer fit into their plans.
By Thanksgiving, I was the most miserable human on the planet. This was supposed to by MY year. I had big dreams and I was going to go far. Instead, I belly flopped right on into December.
The last thing I wanted to do this Holiday season was be merry. All I wanted to do was sit inside my dark house…sulk and stew. And for the past few weeks that is exactly what I have done. I have become like my favorite, but totally depressing poet, Sylvia Plath.
“I talk to God, but the sky is empty.”
It seems the more I was talking to God, the emptier the sky was becoming. The more I asked and sought, the harsher the silence became.
Why does everything have to be such a battle?
When I was asked to write this article for this publication, I admit, I wanted to walk away. Nothing in my heart was feeling Joyful or Merry and that was what the basis for the piece was to be about. I was tired of pretending to be happy and that all was wonderful in life. I wanted to write a hate filled, and cynical piece about how no matter how good you are or how hard you pray, nothing ever works out. I was bitter and I wanted everyone else to feel bitter right along with me.
Then a random trip to run an errand yesterday reminded me that I was all wrong.
I was in my car for a total of 15 minutes to run across town, but those 15 minutes changed the way I saw everything.
It started with the CD I had been listening to going blinky and forcing me to listen to just the radio. The song was one I had heard countless times before, but yesterday was the first time I listened to the words with my heavy, bitter filled heart.
We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near.
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love,
As if every promise from Your word is not enough.
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith enough to believe.
Could it be that I had placed God in a box and believed there was a limit to His power? No longer in my prayers was I singing praises or seeking guidance. I was pointing fingers and wondering why things weren’t improving. Then came the chorus….
Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops,
What if your healing comes through tears.
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near.
What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.
What if all these trials and wrong turns were meant for something greater? What if through all this God wanted nothing more from me than for me to just let go and let Him do the work?
How often do I cry out, “God do something!” and then shake my finger in anger when He doesn’t answer the way I think He should? How often have I given Him a time limit, a deadline, an ultimatum, or my opinion of how I think something should play out? And how often have I ignored Him when I knew He was clearly trying to send me a message.
What if I was looking at it all wrong?
What if my greatest disappointments
or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if the trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?
What if the things I am going through are keeping me, not from positive things, but from harmful experiences? What if this rocky and shaky path I am on is not leading to the temple of doom, but to the most glorious mountain top?
Suddenly my perspective changed and I felt a little lighter.
No where in the Bible has God promised this life would be easy. (I know…. I’ve searched and looked a million times), but He does promise this,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire; you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2
Maybe instead of looking at our disappointments, with a feeling of bitterness and panic, we should chose to look in anticipation of what He can overcome in us.
My mountain still looks steep, rocky, and long, but now it doesn’t seem as impossible.