Friday, January 27, 2012

When Bad Things Happen

I prayed a prayer, yesterday, that went something like: "You've taught me that my loved ones don't belong to me: that they belong to You. So why aren't You doing a better job of taking care of them?"

No matter in which direction I look, right now, I see pain. I carry some residual pain, myself, and--because I bear easily the burdens of others--I feel a little overwhelmed.

Chances are, many of you are in my same place. Because let's get real: bad things happen to everyone. Each of us is a sinner trapped in flesh, camped out on a broken planet. Sadly, it will never be right this side of heaven.

I wouldn't say I'm in the pit, exactly, but you know those scenes in movies where someone dangles over the edge of a cliff, clinging desperately to a skinny limb? Yeah, well. We've been staying home more than adventuring, watching tv more than reading. Sometimes I feel unmotivated to shower. Sometimes I shower and forget to wash my hair. Yesterday, I told my mom I didn't want to talk to her: not because she's (ever) done anything wrong, but because she's an easy target for whatever ugly words I'm harboring.

And I don't have the answers to my questions, let alone yours. Rilke once wrote:

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

I don't believe God hides from us, but I do believe He grows our understanding slowly lest our heads pop off. I believe His ways are different than ours; His vision is different than ours; His timing is different than ours. I believe He has a plan than includes everyone. I believe He works things to our good when we love Him and have been called according to His purpose.

I believe God loved Job, also that Job was more righteous than I but suffered more than I will ever suffer. I believe God allowed Satan to attack Job because God knew Job--in his unwavering  integrity--would live forever in history as an example for us, in our times of trouble.

I believe in turning to God's Word when we suffer: even if (especially if!) we don't feel like it. Same goes for praying. I believe it's ok to be honest with God; He can take it. Also, He knows all about our garbage, anyway.

I believe it's better to be vocally angry with God than silently angry with God. Because if we're not talking to Him (through prayer) or listening to Him (by reading the Bible), we're blocking two of His major channels of communication. I believe in hunting down, in scripture, what we need or what we need to get gone. And I believe in doing it with passion.

I believe we're limited in what we can do for ourselves and others. I believe God is unlimited in what He can do and that, therefore, we do well to tap into His strength. I believe--when our loved ones suffer--the best and brightest thing we can do for them is keep ourselves out of the pit. Because, in the pit, we're one more thing wrong for our loved ones.

See Brandee dangle and cling.

Do you have some words of wisdom about surviving times of trouble?

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