The Truth About Faith: Why Do We Hide Our Struggles?
I’m so frustrated. I have been for quite a while now. Frankly I’m tired of writing about things that seem negative. Why not just be a cheerleader for God? I believe in His power & His healing embrace. The problem is it wouldn’t be honest of me to say I live in victory, when I often struggle.
Over the last few months I’ve come across the topic of suffering here and there. As part of the Sandwich Generation, I mother my two children, one of whom has special needs and help coordinate care for my mother who is nearing the last stages of Alzheimer’s. Although I don’t provide direct care for her 24/7, coordinating her care sometimes involves the nitty gritty, the physical. And wintertime is a little like the ultramarathon of the year, with sickness on both fronts. I love my children and my mother dearly. I’m glad I can be available to provide care. Time is precious. You learn that pretty quickly with a disease like Alzheimer’s. But to be honest, all of it together can be both exhausting and discouraging at times. Then, there is the sickness, loss and difficulty that other family & dear friends are experiencing.
Giving Up & the Need for Honesty
I’ve also recently come across suffering on a number of blogs & in various articles. One blogger said she recently made the decision to no longer attend church. Her reason: she was tired of listening to churchgoers talk about how they couldn’t wait to jump into difficulty, because it was what was ‘right and godly’ somehow and they lived in victory all the time. She reasoned that either they were lying or were hypocrites. My heart broke reading her blog. It’s not a reason to give up on the church. We all need the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
After reading her blog post, I came across others that talked about how we as followers of Christ, do a disservice to the church and to those who don’t share our faith, when we cover over our difficulties, our heavy trials with a simple, “Yep, I’m fine. God is good,” without really being honest about our struggles.
Some of the most beautiful, meaningful moments in my life of faith have been hard won after battling doubt, frustration and exhaustion as I’ve walked slowly, through the difficult times. And again I say, ‘slowly.’
The reality is that it’s not about me – all the tending & the difficulties. But that doesn’t make it any easier. It doesn’t make me feel any less alone, at times. Yet again, it’s those battles that force me to realize my own need. And it’s in those moments, albeit painful ones, when God brings the hope.
Sometimes it’s in the smallest kindnesses; a simple phone call or a funny card from a dear friend waiting in my mailbox. Or an unexpected and perfectly timed birthday gift of a beautiful, beachy gratitude journal from my wonderful niece many states away. Or in a pair of brilliantly colored, indigo buntings playing tag in the woods near my house, a riot of color breaking through grey winter bleakness.
Jesus: Beauty Through Sacrifice
Truth and hope are inseparable in the life and reality of faith. And that reality cannot deny the struggle. It’s absurd to think it should. Hope is often realized because of the struggle.
Jesus cried out to His Father to take the cup from him, weeping so hard, he bled. Blood mixed with tears, begging for release, for help. He didn’t deny the difficult. He humbled himself, asking His friends to pray and wait along with him. The difficult, painful struggle is what makes the hope we have so beautiful. Jesus is beautiful not only in His victory, but in His suffering, His costly, sacrificial act of love.
Let me always be honest, that I may cry out His beautiful mercies.
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