I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I am just so relieved right now, in this moment. It's not because anything other than the fact that a sweet friend called me today. She knows all of our circumstances. And you know what, she didn't say to me, "You need to get over it..." (which I was told to do regarding grieving the tragic loss of my Momma, a mere twelve weeks after it happened.....)......or, "You must be doing something wrong"......or, "Well, if you just trusted God more"....or, "Just stop complaining".....(and YES, if you know anything about what our family has been going through, those are REAL things that have been said to me.) I didn't hear any of that!!! You know what I heard?

It's okay.

It's okay to cry and question and even say a few curse words if I need to get it all out!!! She told me things I already knew.....but you know what?? I had forgotten so much of it. And you know why?? Because so many people had told me all of the things I mentioned above. She just, out of nowhere, said, "I hurt for you guys. So much. I can't imagine why you're going through this. You are not alone, and we are here to just listen to you. We are here to go through this with you, for the long haul." WOW. THAT is love. That is fellowship. That is encouragement. That is the love of God reaching down and wrapping His arms around me. In a world where Christianity has been dumbed down to prosperity preaching and empty doctrine.....THAT was what I have been needing for so long.

It was such a breath of fresh air.

I was reading Job last night. Again. It always comforts me. He pours his very soul out to his friends, and they immediately bash him. Wait a minute, they do sit with him. For seven days. Which seems like a good amount of time. But then, when things don't get better for Job, when things STAY horrible. They are gone. Because who has time for that? Who has time to mourn with someone? Right? They immediately have that "disconnect" from him. They immediately judge him. I have been there. I'm sure you have, too. I'm sure many of us have. If you have been going through a horrible time, if life has been just beating the crap out of you, I apologize on behalf of many Christians who have not been there with you. It's a different thing to be there "for someone"....and "with someone". And even as I write this, I think of all the poeple who are saying, "I can't believe she's bashing the church right now......what a bad thing to say". My answer is simple; there are real problems in the church. Don't believe me? Read your Bible. Nothing is new under the sun. The thing is, we need to address them, it's good to talk about the bad and try to fix it. It's a good thing to bring the dark things into the light and see them for what they are. When our children do things out of hate, do we simply pretend they didn't? Or do we not take them aside and talk with them about how love works?

The same here. I was comforted last night. I was comforted to read the words of Job, "So am I alloted months of vanity, and nights of trouble are appointed me. When I lie down I say, 'when shall I arise?' but the night continues, and I am continually tossing until dawn............My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and come to an end without hope." *Job 7:3-4 &6*

"...and come to an end without hope..." That is where I have been. I can't apologize for that. For too long I have tried to keep silent to "appease" those Christians out there who bash others for talking about the bad things in life. It's taboo to talk about the hard things in Christianity. And when we do, we're told such shallow, band-aid answers. I don't believe God wants that. I believe, with all my heart, that though God can reach down and change things for me, though He can make things better and I'm still waiting for Him to do something.......He STILL hears my cries. He still hurts with me. He still comforts me. I find comfort in my suffering.

If you're experiencing sorrow, hopelessness, despair. You are not alone. If you keep wondering, "Why does all the bad stuff keep happening?". You are not alone. If you keep looking for hope because you've run out of it, you are not alone. God is with you. And let me tell you, it helps so much to have someone who loves you be there with you. Let us not forget we were meant to go through life in community. We need one another. Even when it is tiring, taxing, emotionally draining, we're called to carry one another's burdens. Don't take the easy way out and turn your face from someone who needs you. That is not love. That is not from God.

"Lord, thank You. I hate the way things have been in my life for so long. It seems as though despair has been in my family since losing my Momma. Everything we've gone through in the past two years, You know it all. You, alone, know our hearts. You could easily change things. And yet You haven't. I don't know why. I admit that I have felt guilty, trying to find all the reasons I deserve all this bad. Thank you for reminding me not to try to find something that I'm doing wrong as a reason that You are "punishing" me. Thank you for sending this friend to remind me that following You sometimes gives no answers. There may be no reason for all the sorrow. Thank you for mine and Darryl's friends who have been there for us through all of this, who have been an ear for us. I have no idea when You will step in for my family. I don't know at all. But thank you for reminding me that You do feel what I'm feeling. Thank you for giving me this friend who is hurting with me. Please answer my cries, Lord. Amen."

"Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him." *Job 13:15*


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