Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Good (?) Life

“If you find God with ease, perhaps it is not God you have found.”

— Thomas Merton

Although I have not been through anything uncommon to man, I have seen some trauma in my life. And on bad days, usually in church, I look around and think, "These people have no idea what it's like to be broken. They sing songs about loving God and having faith when they don't know pain."

This is unfair on a couple of levels. First of all, I don't know everyone's story. Who am I to say what they have and haven't been through.

Secondly, I had an epiphany a few weeks ago. I thought to myself, "what if their trial is having an easy life? What if the obstacle of their life and faith is not having to struggle for it?"

My faith has been purified and refined (and will continued to be) through struggle. I'm an idolater at heart, and it is always tempting for me to put my faith in things more tangible than God. Whether it's my friends, my roots, my home, my education, my health, my ethics, my career... at some point I have been broken in each of those issues and have been forced to see that they aren't my Savior... they aren't going to be unwaveringly faithful to me.

Although I certainly would have never asked for some of the trials I've seen, I'm grateful for the opportunity to be broken in the hands of the Master then reconstructed in his design.

I think it's natural instinct to want to protect ourselves and look out for number one, but maybe we should start living with a little more reckless abandon in order for God to use those experiences to shape us.


Gabe said...

Great post Ann.

jojo said...

This is a very thoughtful and meaningful post on a variety of different levels because you made several different points of interest to us. So, we thank you for it! Learning through suffering is a concept that we have been thinking about ever since we lost our first child in a miscarriage.
The following might be taking scripture a little out of context, but it is comforting to know that even though Christ was the son of God he"...learned about obedience first hand through what he suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). So, maybe allowing us to be broken and to suffer is one way that God loves and teaches us as to be better Christians. Anyway, keep on keeping on!

"The day is short but the task is never ending!Any worker is going to get tired, but wages will be high because the Master of the house is urgent.... It is not your job to finish the work, but neither are you free to cease from it....the Master is faithful , to reward you for your work, but keep in that the (full) recompense of the righteous is for a time to come." (Pirke Avot Chapter 2 section 19)
Although, these words are not from Christian scriptures we think they equally apply to us as students of CHRIST.

crittermer said...

Oh Ann, this is just a super post and I will cherish it for a long time. So precious and so true. It brings tears to my eyes knowing all that you have through and yet you're bringing this incredible testimony out of it. Thanks so much for sharing!

Jason Fry said...

Well said. Hindsight is helpful to me as well, and you're right on about not assuming that no one else has been through something like you have.

As for "normal" being a trial, that's an interesting perspective. Some of my anti-institutional friends would say that "normal" is the greatest trial that the church has to face in our culture.