I’ve been stuck in my house for six days now.
First, the snowstorm that cancelled school for two days. Second, the bronchitis…the cough that is so nasty sounding that the doctor asked me if I smoked or had asthma when he heard it. (The answer is no to both, by the way.)
I went out yesterday, to the clinic and the drugstore. Other than that, just me, serial killer crime shows, and these four walls most of the time for almost a week.
Even my beloved cats are sick of me!
I remembered this morning that it was my turn to blog. My first thought was that I could not possibly be less inspired to write something spiritual and uplifting than I am right now. As my dad always says, I got nothin’. I’m a coughing, depressed, anxious, grieving, searching, achy, fed up, exhausted, burnt out little soul. My mind and heart have been aching…now my body has joined them.
But maybe being uninspired is the best topic. Discouragement is hardly unique to me or the present day.
One of the things about the Christian life that it has taken me a long time to learn is that a trouble free life, one of easy abundance and good cheer, is an illusion. We like the idea that prosperity will come our way with God as the divine Santa Claus, making a list of good boys and girls and checking it twice. This is simply not accurate. God is the giver of all good things, but we live in a fallen world where things will never be perfect.
So disappointment and discouragement are inevitable parts of any earthly life, I’ve come to find. We will be afflicted with sickness, dysfunction, brokenness, and grief until this part of our lives is over.
What do we do with these things? Hide them? Put on a happy face? Run away? Become angry and bitter? There are so many responses to the “bad” parts of life. I think I have explored every single one of these possible reactions at some point, and none of them has been healing.
God is still God. The Gospel is still the Gospel. No matter what happens or how I am feeling, these things are True.
This is what heals. Gripping Truth when all you want to do is let go of your hope and your faith. Because if you hold on to something in spite of wanting to give up, then it is more powerful than anything else you may be thinking or feeling. It becomes the Most Important Thing, bigger than any emotion or circumstance.
I know my current discouragement will be temporary because I’m holding on to something way more powerful than my feelings and illnesses.
This isn’t easy. I am not “good” at this gripping of Truth. I still want many parts of my life to be something different than what they are. I find it all too easy to focus on my faults and problems than God’s glory. But I know this is a process that God uses to grow His Children:
“But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 5:3-4 NIV