I John 3:18

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Thankful Tension.

I can still remember the calmness inside when I was singing to my sweet little boy who had just turned three only weeks before. I remember knowing that He was going to take care of her, that she would be okay, that I’d be okay, that we’d all be okay. That He was here…among us. It was something I can’t describe in mere words. I’d prayed for that forever….I remember even releasing that deep breath (ever done that?) that just let go of the fear I had concerning Her. I knew He’d handle it. And not even minutes later, we got the phone call that would unleash a living hell that lasted day after day….even to now. I felt betrayed by Him. (I fully believe we belong to a God who has broad enough shoulders for ALL of our emotions, desires, feelings…etc.)

Fast forward to now, almost four years later. SO VERY much has happened to our family…..more than you’d care to read about. So many tears, so much heartache…doubt, fear, worry, even more grief, and sorrow. We’ve been hit with so many things from outward, it’s seemed like one long nightmare. (And I have many loved ones who have also gone through hell recently, how my heart aches for them…) And finally…again….a few weeks ago I had that comfort and peace, in knowing we were going to be okay. I felt hope again….it had come in tiny little waves, probably a handful of times over the past few years…but this time was different. I had that same inner peace, happiness…calmness that I’d had that night we got the most horrible phone call ever. I was ready to laugh again, to trust again, to stop being so afraid. And not even a day after that “sense of peace and closeness” from God…..it has been as though hell was unleashed again. Many things have been popping up…worries, doubts, fears, questions, frustrations, tears. And I found myself resenting this God again….the One who keeps stripping away at my soul. The One who has left me alone so many times…..I found myself shaking my fist at Him again. Really? Again? Now? More of the same nightmare? Why?? Why does my heart keep getting stripped away? Why are people I love having to hurt so much?

All those emotions welled up again….at Him. Some days, I am just so angry at Him. Some days, I wonder if He’ll show up…

And as horrible as that sounds, I’m SO THANKFUL for these things I feel. I’m thankful I CAN wrestle with Him. I’m thankful I can cry out AT Him, be frustrated with Him, question Him, doubt Him…….I’m thankful I can grab onto Him, and not let go until I get some peace, until I get some prayers answered.

I used to feel guilty for that. I used to think I was horrible for crying out to Him, because I’d been told “be grateful, thankful, shut up, get in line, other people have it worse, your problems aren’t that bad, get over losing your Momma, quit complaining…”blah, blah, blah. And true, some people do have “it worse”….but we can’t minimalize our own agony. We ALL have hurts. To ignore pain, to ignore ANY of our issues, with ourselves, or within our marriages, and to push things under the rugs of our lives will ONLY make everything worse….because all secrets will come back to haunt us if we don’t handle them. Don’t be na├»ve, whatever cheap remedy we think is “fixing” our issues that we’re keeping from all those around us won’t last….the only way through is THROUGH. Ya can’t go around reality.

Today, the one thing I know to be true is this; a God I can’t cry out to, or even complain to when life is so brutal, is NOT a God worth hanging onto.

If this God who loves us as much as we TRULY believe He does, if this God who created us in HIS very image really does care for us…….WHY would we EVER IN A MILLION YEARS believe that He’d want us to push our broken hearts aside and ignore our pain?? Why do we choose to make up our own false reasons about our hurt, or someone else’s hurt? Why do we create these false stories that shut up the oppressed, only to appease our false sense of “faith”?

That isn’t the Gospel.

The Gospel isn’t afraid to look at tears. The Gospel isn’t afraid to comfort somebody beaten up by life, by other people. The Gospel isn’t afraid to be around somebody who has a negative attitude, who is angry, who is hurt. The Gospel doesn’t cover up the truth, it drags it out into the light, exposing all that is dark. The Gospel doesn’t shut up the oppressed. When it does, it stops being the Gospel.
Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be for? The oppressed? And oppressed by what?
Sometimes, we become the oppressors of others in our silence, in our actions and inactions, in our hatred, in our judgments, in our “false stories” (thanks to my husband for these ideas) about others, and ourselves. We become our own “anti-Christs”…in more ways than we even care to learn about.

I think sometimes we mistake motivational speaking as the Gospel.
And it’s not.
The Gospel is summed up in one word; LOVE….in one man; JESUS.

I think we need to be careful with our false doctrines that we hold so dear. The Gospel is big enough to accept us all, and all of each of us.

All of our brokenness, all of our weakness, all of our hurt, despair, sorrow, grief, and tears.

Have we learned nothing of a Saviour born into poverty? A Saviour who went to the poor, the broken, the sad, the depressed, the sorrowful…….have we forgotten the Gospel Story that much?

Anyway…..I guess I am thankful, still, as I’ve mentioned in years past….for hurting. I hope for pain to stop, for myself, for my sweet loved one (you know who you are). I hope for the grief to end. Until then, I will be thankful that God is big enough to understand my hurt and become the “suffering servant” (thanks again, My Love) to each of our own hearts. He is big enough to handle the truth of your life, the things we keep away from others…pretending that all is well. What was it Emily Dickinson said?... “I like a look of agony, because I know it’s true…”

The Gospel is a true story….one of LOVE. Love takes on everyone, and love would never shut out the cry of any person who was oppressed by anything.

Be love for one another.

“And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’…..” Matthew 22:37-39

And oh, by the way… I often wonder if this God gives me these very real, very calm, very peaceful and hopeful reminders of Him just before these horrible storms to let me know that no, it ISN’T okay….but that He is with me, even as I hang onto Him and keep wrestling with him, being persistent in asking Him to show up and answer my cries.

I am convinced that He will wait with me until He does.