July 27, 2010

The Road

We have this idea

that the road of life

the "normal road"

looks something like this

fairly smooth, just some little bumps here and there

That is not reality though

"Normal life" is not a life of

no pain or suffering

or hardship and trials

"Normal life," the life

most people walk

has a road that looks more like this

You don't even know where the road is sometimes

let alone is the road smooth.

"Normal life" is full of hard stuff

We all face it.  No  one, no matter how wealthy, successful or famous gets to escape from the hardships of living in an imperfect world.  Somehow in America we get this idea in our heads that normal life doesn't involve really painful and hard things.  We want to live this life of ease and when we get hit with painful experiences we wonder where God is and why He isn't faithful?  He is supposed to be good and keep us from hurting, right?  Not so.  God actually promises in John 16:33 that we will have tribulations...tough stuff will happen.  Pain and suffering are not a novelty (other countries in the world know that all too well).  I have personally talked to about 7 or 8 different people in the last two weeks, all dealing with different, but major, struggles and heartaches.  People struggling with various physical problems, major illness, loss of a child or loved one, grief of various kinds, disappointing or scary news, major life struggles or relationship struggles.  I am sure you could add to the list.

Knowing of all this pain constantly surrounding us gives those who are followers of Jesus two opportunities.  First we can love those hurting like Jesus would.  We can be His hands and feet in their life like so many have done for my life.  We can bring hope and encouragement to them, and just be there for them. 

In other works, we get off our road (even if it is looking pretty smooth right now)

and join them in the valleys and for the tough climbs 

Because that is exactly what Jesus would do.

Second, when it is us facing the heartahce, we can be salty and bright in a world longing for hope.  We can embrace whatever trials come our way because of the hope and joy we have in Christ.  We can still be real and admit life is hard and we are hurting, but not be defeated and not lose hope.  We can recognize God is still who He says He is.  Faith and hope are a choice, and we can choose them every day.  We don't have to wonder why this terrible thing is happening to us, why not us? Am I so special that the rest of the world should hurt but not me?  It is during those times, when we still have hope and joy that the world stops and takes notice because that is something different than what they are used to seeing. 

Salty and bright...

I want to be that way. 

(for more on that you can read or listen to John Piper here.)

And I can be. Because though promising we will have trouble, God also promises that He has overcome the world, and in Romans 8:37-39 that we will overcome all of the trouble here and nothing can seperate us from His love.  In Philippians 4:6-7 He promises we can bring all of our heartache and worries to Him and He will give us His peace in our hearts.  He doesn't promise to change our circumstances but He does promise peace in the midst of them.

God is good

despite all the pain around us

I don't say that lightly.   I have walked through dark waters

and I have no doubt there will be many more.

But, if I say I believe His Word to be true, then I have to hold onto that no matter what life may bring.


Brad said...

Pretty post and great pictures in the margin. It was to hard to focus after reading the impetus for this blog..even at six years and knowing nothing of the circumstances, my heart aches. God bless you, and all his people, as we suffer for Jesus' name.


Anonymous said...

Thank's Kim...right now going through some hard time's with a good friend who has liver cancer.

Joy said...

Yeah, that's right. But someday my road will be made of gold.

Tengesdal 4 said...

Kim.... Thanks.... I needed to read this... and to see that the roads unmarked are beautiful when you have a different perspective.

jillian said...

I want to be like that too... and I'm so glad you already are that... an example of a friend who gets off her road to suffer and serve others. I just read this after I posted a tough one on our blog about much the same thing. Oh dear friend, may the Lord give you strength as you serve and bless others around you...

Much love,

Coreen Berube said...

thanks for sharing this Kim. You are living proof of this - being salty and bright.

Susan said...

Thanks Kim such a good post!!

4 Little Men and Girly Twins said...

beautiful written! Glad I stopped by today.

hope all is well with your wonderful family.

I can't remember... where in ND are you again?