Clearly marked boundaries, categories and rules make things easier.
But life rarely fits in the tidy boxes I like to create.
And when it doesn’t I’m tempted to ignore the parts that don’t fit-tempted to pretend they don’t exist-so I can maintain the world I’ve created for myself. I would rather march on in ignorance than drag out my underlying assumptions to figure out if they are true or false.
That takes a lot of work.
In the church we like to line up the “Overcomers” to give testimony of how faith in Christ has turned their life around.
And He absolutely does that.
Some are delivered from addiction, sin and abuse. Some receive healing-none the less miraculous if it comes through the hands of skilled physicians. Some enjoy restored relationships.
But not everyone gets what they long for. Not every loss can be undone.
And those left to live their lives hoping but not healed can be labeled “losers”. We can be marginalized because our story is messy and can’t be tied up in a neat spiritual package.
It MATTERS how we frame the very personal tragedies that people around us experience.
My friend and fellow loss mom, Janet Boxx, has written a beautiful post that exposes one of the ways life doesn’t fit the neat categories we like to use.
Please take a moment to read her post It’s Personal .
Sometimes people outside our experience toss Scripture at us who are suffering like confetti in a parade-as if we are heroes who only have yet to take the podium and declare the victory.
But what if there IS no victory in this life for some of us?
What if there is only endurance–which is a sort of victory but one not highly valued?
Paul never declared a final victory over his thorn in the flesh. He characterized his life as one “poured out like a drink offering”. He said he “groaned” in his earthly tent and “longed” to be clothed with the heavenly.
I am living. I don’t spend my days curled up in a ball (even when I want to).
But I groan–I groan for the time when what the enemy has stolen will be restored.
Until then, even if I have to crawl, battered and bruised:
“I push myself forward toward the goal to win the prize. God has appointed me to win it. The heavenly prize is Christ Jesus himself.” (Philippians 3:14 NIRV)
The final destruction of death is still in the future. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will. Not only will I see Lenya again, but I will hold the same body I held here, only better, because what the thief has stolen will be restored sevenfold (Proverbs 6:31)!
This is why it’s crucial for you to see that we don’t need to put a nice face on our pain or hurry people through a process that can’t be rushed; the fact that our sadness doesn’t go away makes our triumph even more powerful. Our faith works in the fire, and not just when life is fun. We can be hard-pressed and yet not crushed, struck down and yet not destroyed — not because we know general facts about the resurrection or that there is a heaven, but because we trust in the one who said that he is the resurrection and the life, who took the keys from death and hell, was dead, and lives forever. His name is Jesus, and he always leads us in triumph!
~Levi Lusko, Through the Eyes of a Lion