I know we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to keep a good attitude and hold it all together. There’s some legitimacy to that. We can’t be dragging our dirt all over the place and going without any sense of self-control. On the hand, to completely shut out our feelings to the point where you feel trapped and unheard… that’s a dangerous place to be also.
So how do we do both? Where’s the line? How do I know moment by moment what the right direction is?
Isaiah 53:3-53 (PAR) The Suffering Servant
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.
The key is that our Savior, Jesus Christ, did both. He is the fullness of joy, the perfection and fulfillment of God’s word from the beginning to the end. He also wept and bore our grief. He knows pain and sorrow and goes before us in all of our battles. He knows what’s ahead, he walks with us and never leaves us. This is the truth and ultimate reality that we fight to hold on to. The enemy wants to discourage us, make us think we’re fools to have faith and believe in God’s word, when our prayers or situations don’t turn out the way we thought and hoped.
But we are called to put on the full armor of God.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV) The Whole Armor of God:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
So we trust. We choose to believe and have faith amidst the pain and life we experience. There’s a fullness of joy in Christ for us. There’s His joy that’s our strength. He restores us and redeems us. So we trust in His power and promise and walk with Him. I have witnessed his faithfulness in such incredible ways through the dark times I have walked through so far. I have also experienced such gratefulness and joy that has brought me to tears and left me in awe.
Remember, we’re going to look back on all of this and see this beautiful mosaic come together. You’ll look back and realize it wasn’t as big of a deal as you made it out to be, or it became a critical piece of your testimony, or you learned from it and now you get to speak life and power into the lives of others. Or all of it.
Fight to stay tender, faithful and brave. And do it all with the presence and strength of your Heavenly Father. I’ll leave you with this prayer to the church in Ephesus from Paul…
Ephesians 1:3-14 (ESV) Spiritual Blessings in Christ
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5he predestined usb for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9making knownc to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guaranteed of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,e to the praise of his glory.