Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finding Faith in Hard Places

I hate the hard places in life. Completely hate them. Can’t stand them. Cry over them. Stamp my feet and throw my arms in the air and holler into the night at them. Rage with angry tears streaming down my face at the hard places in life, the ones where life is completely unfair and injustice continues unchecked.

The times when a child dies. The times when anyone dies “too young” whether they are 2 or 40 or 75.

The times when someone takes advantage of another human being ~~ and gets away with it.

The times when someone hurts another person ~~ physically, verbally, emotionally and/or spiritually.

The times when anyone abuses another person, child or adult, or a defenseless animal.

The times when someone violates someone else’s trust in any way.

The times when someone uses the power of their words to hurt someone else, especially behind their back.

The times when guilt or shame or fear threatens to shut you down. Or someone you love.

The times when a friend or loved one is hurting very badly but there’s absolutely nothing you can do but love them.

The times when your heart hurts so badly you can’t breathe.

The times when someone has to wait and wait and wait for test results that could change a life one way or another.

The times when you do everything you know to do and life still throws you a tragic curve.

The times when you don’t get to tell someone you love how you feel. Or even tell them goodbye.

The times when you lose someone so dear that you have to try to remind yourself to breathe.

I absolutely HATE those times in life.

I do NOT, at those moments, listen to or say the horrible words, “Well, this must be God’s will.” How harmful that lie is!! God’s will is NEVER EVER to harm His children. NEVER EVER. God’s heart breaks even more than ours at life’s tragedies.

I do NOT, at those moments, smile sweetly and count my blessings and say, “Well this must all be for the best.” Are you KIDDING me?

If anyone around you ever utters those lies or misrepresentations, run as fast as you can. Especially if you hear anyone ever tell you, “Don’t ever question God.”

Are you KIDDING me?

God made me who I am. He is not going to fall off His throne because I am hurting and ask him questions. He knows me and loves me.

The God I know and love wants, more than anything, for me to be real with Him. To be honest and truthful with Him.

God knows what I’m feeling anyway. Why would I lie to myself or Him and pretend otherwise?

I’m in good company. Some of the people who loved God most asked Him the most questions.

News Flash: I’m human. All too human.

That’s why one of my heroes of the Bible is David.

David screwed up over and over and over again. He lost his temper. He raged. He sinned. He ~~gasp!!!~~ questioned God.

Just like I do. Just like you all do, if you’re honest with yourselves.

Yet time and time again, even ~~ and actually, especially ~~ when he had absolutely no satisfactory answers to any of his questions to God, David still ended up each and every time declaring his unyielding trust in God. It’s there in every Psalm.

And in the end, despite his many flaws, David was called by God himself “a man after God’s own heart.”

In return, even though David didn’t have the answers, he worshipped God with love and passion and reckless abandon and a stubborn faith that seemed absolutely crazy to everyone around him.

The Divine and ultimate paradox. One I know too well.

A loving God does not expect us to see injustice or experience tragedy and blindly accept it. He certainly does not expect us to never ask questions.

All He asks is that we trust Him in the end. All He asks is that we have faith.

Faith to believe He loves us.

Faith to hold on no matter what.

Faith to struggle and still believe.

Faith even if we can’t see anything happening.

Faith to wait with expectant hope.

It’s hard as hell. But I’m trying to learn.

I hate waiting. Really hate it.

I’m holding onto hope with everything in me.

Because sometimes, more often than not, it takes everything in me, simply to hold onto hope.

Yet I still believe.

David may have said it in more flowery poetic phrases.

Here’s my modern-day version, as real as it gets:

Some days, life just kicks the crap out of you. But you go on anyway. That’s faith.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes.


Jody said...

Thank you -- you put faith into a modern and realistic context. I completely support and believe you here. Until the entire world is healed - until the human family is one -- and injustice persists -- we must always question...and not just God but each other, here ON earth.

I'm so glad you posted this, instead of holding it. This is the kind of rant we all need to hear.


Janet Oberholtzer said...

Excellent post!

Marilyn Yocum said...

LOVE your list! A lot of connecting points there. Faith isn't an up-in-the-air-no-connection-to-real-life thing. It's for the reality of here and now. Identifying the places of real hurt is empowering. Once things are said out loud, we can seriously confront our faith issues and yield to God's pursuit of us.