The Christian life is not a life to be only contemplated, it is a life to be lived. What does that look like? Lived in the midst of joy, delight, suffering and sorrow, with a thousand frustrations along the way. Sometimes I think, usually only upon reaching the end of myself, how I need to reframe my thoughts to align with God’s plans and purposes. He isn’t sitting in Heaven frustrated, irritated, and with vision blurry from anger. And yet, where I am right now, there is injustice, poverty, oppression, apathy, disease, pride, and death. The stench of those foul odors waft through life here every day.
Too often, though, we find ourselves fighting against them with a very human strength. Unfortunately, disease and sorrow and poverty are winning. There are times when we can alleviate a small drop of them, but one drop isn’t even noticed when it is removed from the sea. Our frustrations will have only mountains more to add to their burdens, unless we learn to let go a bit. When I say “let go”, I don’t mean become lazy or apathetic. I mean filter properly.
It is God who allows us to make a small difference, to bring a brighter moment to someone’s day, a smile to their face, restoration in the midst of decay. And it is God who, for now, allows the vast majority of those dark evils to remain. Even after healing, the body still heads toward death. Even great joys will have times of sorrow to follow.
Big things, little things, they start to build up and wear us down. The frustrations of living as a plain, normal human. Just like for you. The kids don’t quiet down to give you a moment to avoid the snap of your temper. Your spouse doesn’t even try to see it your way. The neighbor’s dog poops in your yard, not once, but every single day. You get overlooked at work, while others get acknowledged and don’t even deserve it. Your relationships are falling apart. He died. She died. They left. Don’t have enough to make the bills. On and on.
This is real life. And yet, in the middle of it, there is real hope. In every joy and sorrow, I want to grasp them each up and run to the Lord with them. Like the Psalmists, pouring out their hopes, praises, losses, pains to the God who truly does care. Those men had a perspective of God that was big enough for them to take their troubles to, kind enough to be willing to help bear them. They knew Him as the only one great enough to worship, and the one worthy of continual praise. So they brought Him their greatest and worst moments, and left them there for Him to make sense of. He is the filter that I want to sieve through as well. Too often, instead I run to someone who can listen to me vent, knowing that they will be on my side. Then I can have the feeling that they understand. There is validity in that sometimes. But they aren’t my comfort, or shelter, or peace, or shield – God is. And He certainly understands better – not only my situation, but how it fits in His bigger plan. I want to learn how to run much more quickly to Him. To give Him the burdens that are bigger than me, the sorrows that can overwhelm me, and the praise that flows from inside me, and let Him sort out the details. He is big enough to manage all of that.