You should see the blizzard conditions outside the windows of this old farmhouse. Fields and fields of white! It’s a pretty impressive whiteout right now.
Well, maybe you’re like me, cozied up in a nordic knit with a side of bacon and a hot drink. (Don’t add too much rum to it, now? 😉 I have some time to think and to write. Unlike recently. I can’t remember when I last posted something.
To be honest – which I assume is what you expect as the reader of a blog – I’ve hit a whole new level of grief. The truth is – which you can’t relate to unless you’ve experienced some level of grief in your life – I’ve been locked up in my own fears and doubts and anger. I’ve been trapped in my fear of the next worst possible scenario, trapped in my doubt that God isn’t compassionate, trapped in my anger that Heidi isn’t here.
That’s the gist of it. There’s a whole lot more ugly, but I’m sparing you and being prudent. I’m somewhat ashamed of how I’ve fallen into this pit of confusion and bitterness. I drug all these issues to the couch of the counselor and sputtered through tears about strange dreams of death, anticipating the sudden death of another loved one, lashing out about anything to my husband, being afraid to fall asleep, watching my dogs and my baby like a hawk, using four letter words constantly to express my frustration and anger. You wanna know what he said? “Well, that’s not going to help anything.”
He also said, “Stop over-spiritualizing. Accept your grief. Learn to accept that life is painful, whatever the trial. Learn to live in the moment, because that’s all you have and you’ll miss it. And stop believing that everyone else has it easy, because that’s a lie. Trust that God is good simply because you deserve Hell and you’re not getting it.”
He really says it, doesn’t he? I needed that. Because, you know what, I think I’ve been teeter-tottering on believing a prosperity gospel. That God owes me comfort and stability and happiness and success; that God shouldn’t have struck me down with a lifelong pain; that God should now exempt me from all other trials and hardships.
God doesn’t owe me a damn thing, and I think that four letter word fits here. I do DESERVE total damnation, because I’m a sinner and the antithesis to the holiness of God. The condition of my soul is utterly imperfect and unworthy. However, I’ve been GIFTED eternal life, because God has mercy on His creatures and wants to graft me, and you, into His holy union. The condition of my soul through Christ is repaired and restored to the value of HIS worth.
I won’t share much more, because I’m ready to hunker down for my winter’s nap, but let me close by sharing this excerpt from a great book I’ve been reading…
An individual in crisis will either grow stronger or become demoralized. Within certain limits, of course, adversity can have a positive effect on people by helping to build character. For Christians, Scripture says it develops and enhances that precious characteristic called faith (James 1:2-4).
Biologists have long recognized this concept, which we’ll call the adversity principle, at work in the world of plants and animals. As strange as it seems, habitual well-being is not advantageous to a species. An existence without challenge takes its toll on virtually every living thing. Just look at the flabby animal in a zoo, for example. Food is delivered to them every day, and they need do nothing but lie around and yawn. Or consider a tree planted in a rain forest. Because water is readily available, it does not have to extend its root system more than a few feet below the surface. Consequently, it is often poorly anchored and can be toppled by a minor windstorm. But a mesquite tree planted in a hostile and arid land must send its roots down 30 feet or more in search of water. Not even a gale can blow it over. Its unfriendly habitat actually contributes to stability and vigor. – When God Doesn’t Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson
Throughout the course of history, we’ve seen triumph come out of hardship. So, I’m in a hard place right now. Many days it seems dark inside of me. My light is dim, and my heart hangs low. But the prosperity gospel does not minister to me, rather the truth of who God is in the midst of my own blizzard will prevail even stronger than “the winds of adversity.” In time I will grow deeper roots and become stronger and greener for the duration of my stay in this “valley” called Earth. Some day this will all be made new. Till then…. I will, and I hope you will, keep close to the Creator wherever you are in your blizzard….
In the hands of the potter,