Saturday, August 13, 2011

boasting gladly

I spend too much time waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This may seem odd, since I'm generally a glass-half-full, optimist. I think there is no use crying over spilled milk because you can never get it back in the glass anyways, so might as well move on.

My optimism mostly applies to everyday life.

When it comes to the big stuff, the unexpected, the tragedies, I am always waiting for the next bad thing.  I sometimes daydream about things that could possibly go wrong in life (illness, death) so that if they do, I'm somewhat prepared.  I admit, it's a bit demented.  And I remind myself that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind."  1 Timothy 1:7

The problem is, I've experienced my fair share of the other shoe dropping.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.

You find yourself waiting for that shoe
Because your childhood friend dies just 6 months after diagnosis of a brain tumor
As a high school freshman getting ready for school in the morning, you hear about the murder of a teenage girl the night before.  Then they say her name.  And you scream.  Because she was in your youth group.
The group you're camping and hiking with inadvertently starts a forest fire, and you all have to run for your lives
Your best friends mom, who is like a mom to you, is diagnosed with lymphoma
Urgent messages on your pager, answered using a pay telephone reveal your dad has had a massive stroke that almost take his life and leaves him disabled.
Minutes away from being sent home from the ER, doctors come in to take your mom to emergency surgery, where she almost loses her life while they repair a perforated ulcer
Your healthy mother-in-law is diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer
Friends and family go through horrific things, too much to even recount here.

I have no doubt that anyone who's lived 34 years like I have, could come up with a similar list.  But still it frustrates me that I am often waiting for the next tragedy.

Hearing that my cousin's son had a brain tumor, hit especially close to home since we had just been in that same hospital with Lily a month prior, preparing ourselves to hear the worst.  Lily and Levi are just a few months apart in age.  And their older son is a few months younger than Gracie.  There wasn't a "worst" for us, but there certainly was for little Levi.  Although he's doing quite well after surgery and thing seem hopeful for a good recovery right now.

I have spent so much time in prayer this week.  As I drive, as I go through daily routines, as I go to sleep at night and when I wake in the morning.  And I've felt such peace.

Yesterday the words of Paul came to me,

"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses"

New understanding dawned.  There is nothing like relying on God, like needing to rely on Him; when God is your only source and you can do nothing but cry out to Him and rest in Him.  That is why we should boast when we are weak, when tragedy comes, when the pain of life seems too much to bear.

It is in those weaknesses that he is most strong.  And in turn, we are most strong.  He shines in times like these.  I see Him shining in my cousin and her husband.  They speak of peace and encouragement, of weights lifted.

I'm going to work on changing my mentality.  Sure, the other shoe may drop sometimes.  But that's when God shines and our faith grows and I feel closest to Him.  I don't need to prepare myself or anticipate it.  If something tragic were to happen, I will embrace my weakness and His strength.

I feel like my words are so feeble right now to describe this incredible truth that came to light in my heart yesterday.  All I know is that Jesus told us we'd have trouble in this world, but that he has overcome it and we don't need to let our hearts be troubled.  It doesn't make sense.  Jesus often doesn't.  But it's something I know and have experienced deep in my soul.

I will proclaim it to the world
I will declare it to my heart
Sing it when the sun is shining
I will scream it in the dark

You are faithful
You are faithful
When You give and when You take away
Even then still your name remains
You are faithful
And with everything inside of me
I am choosing to believe
You are faithful

from "Faithful" by Steven Curtis Chapman


  1. Wow...I so needed to read this.

  2. It felt hard to communicate what was in my soul and it makes NO sense according to wordly standards...but it does line up with scripture, you know?


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