I have recently read the journey of suffering of one blogger who had a miscarriage. With eloquence and tremendous sensibility, she describes the sadness, the fear and the sense of loss she felt throughout her ordeal. As I read her story, I cried. I cried for the child she never got to hold. For the thousands of women who, as I write, will not get to soothe a newborn's cry, or stroke their gentle cheeks. I cried for little bellies swollen from hunger, and shoeless feet bleeding from winter. And I cried for myself.
When I was very young-we are going back to the prehistoric era now- I believed that, if I loved God with all my heart and lived for Him, my life would be spared from suffering. The reward for my shiny existence would translate in a life free of chronic illness, or "complicated" relationships, or whatever other ailment affects the human race. Ten years into my struggle with digestive issues and beyond, I stand corrected in my doctrine. My struggles showed me that life is not as tidy and linear as my ideological lens had wished it would be. Life is often messy and difficult-but God is good.
My biblical heroes haven't exactly earned a free pass in their earthly pilgrimage, either. These people have toiled much, failed often and sorrowed deeply at times-yet God ushered them in heaven's hall of fame. Moses missed out on the Promised Land, his longing eyes beholding the very essence of his journey. For nearly a decade, David ran for his life, persecuted by the one whose torment he availed. Jeremiah wept at the destruction of Jerusalem and God's holy temple. Paul toiled with a thorn in his flesh -something that bothered him enough to plead God thrice for its removal. And Jesus... Jesus died.
I still remember the evening I knew something was wrong. One bite into a luscious Granny Smith apple, my throat was on fire. I lay down, and my abdomen felt like a load of rocks. For weeks and months following, my distended abdomen told the story of an invisible struggle that brought a new normal to my physical functions. Those were months of fearing, wandering a desert of question marks, and diet restrictions, and medication side effects. The "what if" and "if only" lurked constantly in my thoughts, preying on my fragile condition and threatening to collapse my world into despair.
Ten years later, I might still be wandering the same desert, pounding at the same question marks, stroking the same "what if"s-but Christ changed everything. He came and moped my tear-stained soul with strokes of light and laughter. He taught me how to walk again -hope again- laugh again. He held my heart on solitary walks and nourished it with rainbows and The scrolls. He came arrayed with strength and comfort - and what He spoke, I became. In His presence, I believe all things, hope all things, endure all things.
Christ changes everything.
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Cor.4:17,18)