A brief word. I am alright. The point of the last post wasn’t to gain sympathy or worry anyone. It was about voicing my complaint to The Lord. Life is hard and I think it’s good to be honest about that. I get that our instant reaction is to want to fix it, to be honest, mine is as well. I want to fix situations, find the magic sleep button, work out how to not be a sinner, make everything shiny and wonderful.
I’m just not sure it works like that.
We can’t avoid pain and hard times in this world. It’s just not possible and it doesn’t mean we’ve failed if we find ourselves constantly confronted by struggle, pain and hurt. This life is lived through a veil of tears, as some wise man said somewhere. It’s not wise to avoid pain at all costs.
My struggles, whilst real are fairly small in the scheme of things. We do have a beautiful boy who I can’t get enough of. We have a roof, we can eat, we love being married and we love our friends and family. Life is still not easy though. It’s fun, beautiful, crazy and wonderful. But there is still pain and struggle. And that’s ok.
God is here in the midst of these times. I complain to him and though he has not promised me a pain free life he has promised to help me endure, to help me know him, that one day I will live in a perfect world. Until then we groan. He listens and then he helps me live well in the midst of the struggle.
As ever Larry Crabb is on offer with his hugely helpful thoughts about groaning:
“Beneath the surface of everyone’s life, especially the more mature is an ache that will not go away. It can be ignored, disguised, mislabelled or submerged by a torrent of activity, but it will not disappear. And for good reason. We were designed to enjoy a better world than this. And until that better world comes along we will groan for what we do not have… There is no escape from an aching soul, only denial of it. The promise of one day being with Jesus in a perfect world is the Christian’s only hope for complete relief. Until then we either groan or pretend we don’t.”
I refuse to pretend. And I refuse to let these groanings be the end. They are real and it is ok to groan. We should groan in a world so far from what it will one day be. We groan with hope but that doesn’t deny the reality of the groaning. I think it’s important to let each other groan, to affirm that it’s normal, to be less anxious to fix and more willing to sit with each other in the hard stuff of this life.
Sometimes there isn’t an answer. Sometimes all that we need is a listening ear, an acknowledgement that it’s hard and a hug. Someone gave me a chocolate advent calendar this week as a response to the last post. That’s louder than any well meaning advice. There is place for suggestions and improvements of the situation but I think they come later, or in answer to specific questions.
Life is hard but it’s also brilliant, each morning the mercies are new and I stumble on. I have a God who loves and delights in me and friends who get all the above. I’m alright.