There is a rise and fall that occurs in our lives, a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, push and pulls, give and takes, waves crashing in and seas flowing back into the ocean. Sometimes, we live in anticipation and sometimes we live in fear. But what happens when the pushing, the falling, the crashing comes like a hurricane bringing forth a path of pain, and illness, again, and again, and again?
“Why is this happening?” and “How do we cope?”
Denial is my first stop. It usually goes something like this: “Really, God?” “No way!” “You have me confused with someone with broader shoulders.” Often, I make believe it’s not a part of my life; I refuse to speak about it and try hard not to think about it. Yup, good old denial. Works for only so long and then–
Then I get angry. Angry at myself, others, the situation and even God. “Why are you doing this to me, God?” “I can’t take any more of this!” This can go on for a while and can spill forth at unrelated, unexpected, inopportune times. Just asked my husband.
The Pity Party is where my anger is so exhausting that I resort to feeling sorry for myself. It’s where I feel that I am alone in my pain or circumstance. I cry out to God “I’m not strong enough.” “I will not survive this!” “What did I do to deserve this?” and “Why are You doing this to me?” I wallow quite a while here mainly because I have run out of steam physically and mentally. It’s also where I spend some time thinking about what is going on and begin to answer some of those questions.
I ask God, “Why is this happening to me?” I hear a voice answering “Why shouldn’t it happen to you?” When I shout at God that I am a good person and a Christian, He reminds me that we are not rewarded with an easier life for our faithfulness. Adam Hamilton writes in his book entitled Why? Making Sense of God’s Will: “The sweeping message in the Bible is not a promise that those who believe and do good will not suffer. Instead the Bible is largely a book about people who refused to let go of their faith in the face of suffering.” Life is where we are stretched, grown and need to hold fast to our faith. It is during those storms that we need not ask ourselves “why?” but “what?” Questions such as: What are we going to do about the current mayhem in our lives? What part of this is for my protection? What other opportunities could God be providing? What maturity could God be building into me? Switching from “why” to “what” questions paves the road to parking our minds in a better place. And that better place is where we realize that we may not be in control of the roller coast ride, nor the oceans ebb and flow but it is where we find God. And it is in finding God that we find acceptance in our circumstance. It’s where we seek and find solutions, where we see the positive amongst the negative through events, places, and people that God uses to bless us.
My mother used to tell me “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”. Sometimes I feel like I should be as strong as Samson by now. However, I can’t tell you that I will never ask those tough questions, get angry or have a pity party for one.
What I do know is that I won’t be alone. I am surrounded by other Christians who reach out and help one another in good times and in bad. Most importantly God promises to be with us always.
Psalm 73:26-28 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever….I have made the Lord God my refuge.”
God is with us and He sees the big picture, my friends. He knows exactly where we need to be challenged, stretched, grown and refined so that we will not be pitied but be an example of His light and grace. He uses our anger, our fear, and even our weariness to build us till we become “Transformers” of grace and peace. It is during those hurricanes that we take that leap of faith and show God’s purpose and use as His power. It is in those scary roller coaster rides and hurricanes that we reach out and are enveloped in His arms and receive His peace.
And it is His peace that people see when they look at us.
And their question is: “How do I get some of that?”
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” – John 14:27
Was there a time when you felt you were on a roller coaster ride that was spinning out of control? How did you deal with it and what brought you through it? Please share your thoughts and ideas – it may help someone who needs to hear your words of comfort.