For the past few months I have been really struggling. I was hoping it was just that Mercury was retrograde, but when the bad luck just kept going on, I began feeling defeated. It felt as if I was in a hole and every time I was starting to climb my way out another dump truck came along and piled more dirt on me. I could not get ahead, and worse than that, I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I would pray and pray, and nothing changed. The positivity inside of me soon changed to sarcasm and a negative outlook. “Why me!!!”. I tried to take the Christian approach by telling myself that someone always has it worse than me, or there is a reason for this. I should be thankful that I have a beautiful family, and that I woke up today. However, that all may be true, it did not stop me from feeling the way that I was feeling.
I began to open up to others about what was going on in my life and my mind. Soon I found out that the struggle I was feeling is very universal. We just don’t talk about it openly. We keep those anxiety and fears inside ourselves because we don’t want to appear weak. In fact, the strength is telling others our story. It makes us feel less alone. In all of my conversations one thing kept coming up, Where is God in our struggles? The common thread seemed to be that if we were believers we should somehow have this perfect life. That God should not give us struggles, but reward those of us that have faith in Him. I do believe this to an extent. God does work all things for good and in our favor, but let’s face it life is unfair.
Jesus set that up for us on the cross. He was experiencing the human life. He knew pain while he was on Earth. He knew suffering and loss. When Lazarus died, He wept. When He would see the poor or sick, he felt compassion for them. He was the perfect person, and life was still not fair to Him. So, why should we expect it to be fair to us? Look at Job. He was a man of faith that had everything in his life that he cared about taken away. He definitely had to ask, “why me??”. He still remained faithful throughout. How did he do that? He separated his suffering on Earth from his love for God.
We expect life to be fair, because God is fair. We need to learn to separate the reality of the physical world we are living in from the spiritual reality. The spiritual reality is that God promises life after death if we are believers. In that life we will know no pain or suffering. It is never implied that we will not know pain and suffering in the physical world. If we believe that we should always have good health, good finances, etc. because we are believers, we will always be set up for disappointment.
God’s love for us does not depend on if we have wealth or good health. He loves us infinitely no matter what. Even if He also believes that what we are going through is unfair, His love does not hinge on that. If we are able to develop a relationship with God despite of what is going on in our lives, we will be better equipped to hold on when things get rough. If our faith and love for Him depend on always having things go right in our lives, we need a wake up call. We need to learn to trust God in all the unfairness of life.
While I speak of a separation of the two it is merely to help us understand. We should seek God when things are going wrong or right. We also have a human right to feel what we are feeling. I think it is important to make this distinction so that we can shift from blaming God for our troubles to trusting Him with them. We are all quick to blame God whether we think we do or not. The most common cursing I hear is the word God with d@#n after it. This is said so frequently when we lose our keys or forget an appointment. It is almost ingrained in us to cast the blame. We think we are being punished. When in all reality we live in a world that God may not always be able to control. We are surrounded in the secular world by many different types of people and beliefs. We know that God is real, but the Devil is too unfortunately. Life on Earth is unfair, the Cross settled that for us. It is what we do with our spiritual life that really matters the most. This is not our home for eternity. We are only here for a short time, so we should focus on building those treasures in heaven, not on Earth. We do not need wealth, health, or anything Earthly to do that. Jesus does not offer us immunity from unfairness, but a way through it to the other side.
“To be commanded to Love God at all, especially in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken. But this is the first and great commandment nonetheless. Even in the wilderness-especially in the wilderness-you shall love Him.” Frederick Buechner