Lately, my “light and momentary troubles” have been overwhelming. Neither light nor momentary. In fact, several of them have been recurring over many years, and sometimes, it feels like this battle hit me almost as soon as I got here. So, in the midst of turmoil, I began writing:
What if your light and momentary trials seem neither light nor momentary? What if life always feels like a battle, and an overwhelming one at that? What if you feel like a victim of circumstance that started way before you got here, and then to compound the matter, the devil just won’t let up? Everyone else looks so happy, and life for them seems so good. But for you? You go the short end of the stick. It seems like God is not “for you.” You were shafted.
I had a little pity party last night. Went out to my car, locked myself in and had a good heart-to-heart with God. Stopped saying all the acceptable things and told him all my real feelings. I have no idea what He is doing any more. I just need God to come into this mess. So I prayed.
I laid a lot of questions and emotions at His feet. I just wanted to be emptied of the things I wonder but never ask. I wanted to get real with God, and last night, I was finally desperate enough to be real. . I’m tired of being tormented by illusions. I will fight if I need to fight, in whatever way God feels I need to fight. I will go through things to be able to comfort others and see people saved. But I don’t want to hope anymore. I am sick of feelings, and being hopeful about things that are always just outside my grasp, though happening to everyone else.
God simply responded with peace. He lavished it on me. And I was grateful. I did not want to hear Him speak. I just wanted to be comforted. The truth is, life is both good and bad. But when it is bad, it’s usually right when I have been obedient in something and full of hope. Literally, all hell breaks loose. Demons I can’t fight with leave me feeling terrified, bewildered and completely defeated.
Sometimes, it’s hard to hold on to hope. It’s hard to see past the things I long for. It’s hard to believe God when it hardly seems like He’s working on those things He has spoken of. Yet He is not silent when I ask Him not to speak to me of them again. He continues to fill me with hope and a vision, even when I’d rather not hear about it.
The hardest part is, I know God is trustworthy. He just seems unconcerned about my insurmountable needs. He gives peace when I cry out for something tangible. I plead for Him to “fix this!” and He just comforts me in it. He hasn’t rescued me from this mire. He just holds me in it.
I opened my Bible to read the next day and this scripture spoke immediately: “Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight” (2 Samuel 10:12).
My heart is set on things, like ministry and marriage. I don’t want to give up hoping for them. I am having a hard time accepting God’s timing. It’s confusing and painful. I want God to do what He said He would do. To fulfill the things He placed in my heart. Or take them! Take them away from me! I don’t want to pine after marriage and ministry. I don’t want to hurt over it anymore! How do I fight in this war? I can’t even understand it most days. It is beyond me and I feel incapable. So I ask, how do I fight faithfully, Lord?
Again, I opened my bible and the old scriptures that bolster my faith were right there:
“Before I was born, the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.’
“But I said, ‘I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God … because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.’
“In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free’ … For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones … See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me … those who hope in me will not be disappointed” (Isaiah 49:1-4, 7-9, 13, 23).
As God continued to speak in spite of me, I began to feel guilty about my bitterness and the way I approached Him in my anguish. I began to plead for forgiveness, but the Lord silenced me and said, “These are the moments that define our relationship. These moments when you trust me with the things you often hide, choosing false piety over honesty. Trying to protect me from things I already hear and see. But then, you say what you really feel and find that I love you still. And realize anew how much you love me. These are the moments that show the strength of our love. These light and momentary troubles that reveal an even greater glory that does indeed outweigh them all.”
The beauty of this struggle is that His comfort is enough to get me to continue on even when I don’t think I can. Or want to. His comfort gives me strength I do not have. His peace floods me and fills places that would otherwise be dry because nothing else goes that deep. Can I hold on to God even when I wonder about His goodness and faithfulness? Can I trust Him enough with my feelings even when they don’t sound like something that’s acceptable to say to His sovereignty? Does He love me enough to endure my emotions? My doubts? It turns out, He does. And I am humbled and so very grateful.
You are faithful, even when I am faithless. You love me in spite of myself. Thank you for your comfort and peace. Thank you for understanding my humanity. I appreciate the unconditional love you lavish on me, and how you aren’t swayed a bit in your devotion by my emotional storms. Thank you for being a rock and a fortress, steadfast though the tempest roars. Thank you for holding me while I fall apart, and restoring me when the storm is past. I love how you love me. How you love us, Lord, who are otherwise unworthy were it not for Jesus. Thank you, Jesus, for giving me access to the faithful, undying heart of God. Thank you for the greater glory you are preparing through my light and momentary troubles, no matter how heavy and insurmountable they seem. I praise you.