I have to confess that I have been struggling with all things religious this past year. Everywhere I turn there seems to be a different spin on who or what Jesus is and what people believe to be the correct interpertation of the Bible. Scripture is the tool to pick and choose from to bolster your position. I love the challenge of trying to figure it all out....but often it leads me to confusion and it causes me retreat to be alone with my thoughts and prayers...
Therefore, it was so refreshing to hear the pastor of our church speak about the latest book on the market called "The Secret" and the whole prosperity movement taking over churches everywhere as this has been bothering me too this past year. I value his thoughts and knew it would be good!
Now, to many of us it is almost laughable to take seriously the idea of richness or acquiring things as something to focus on....most of us are your average working class joes struggling to pay our bills and pray that no emergencies pop up to set you further back.
Not that we don't dream of such things...it just isn't the focus of who we are. Many of us are more interested in building relationships and fellowship than on focusing or meditating on the almighty dollar. It isn't to say that having money is wrong...but when your focus is on chasing dollars instead of a relationship with God or your loved ones then you have created for yourself an idol.
What I took away from his sermon was the reminder that God gives and God takes away. As Christians we are not promised great wealth, health or success and not having it doesn't mean that God favours you any less than those who do have those blessings.
Why should we be exempt from suffering? Suffering has a way of shaping our character more often than good times. Can we still muster up some trust in God in our moments of agony or despair, when you cry out to him and you can't hear him or feel him near...can you still trust God to see you through it? When I am struggling, I remember Jesus' words to me "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
At church, Sarah told me that she planned to walk this long path of deep pain and grief from losing her fiancee to suicide. I believe she is honoring both herself and Nato yet recognizing the importance of not trying to rush through it or stuffing down her incredible loss and the anger and pain which naturally follows. She is such an amazing person!
I believe that God will help us work our way through the hard questions. He can handle our anger and pain....he wants us to fight our way to the other side....our life may not be as we planned it...but it will be our life....we may have battle scars that will remain tender when prodded...but they will be reminders of how far we have come and how much more compassion we have for others when we see their struggles.