My husband has said it often,
“Things could be so much worse.”
Even as Nick fought cancer,
we celebrated his lack of intense pain,
his joyful spirit,
his constant smile,
our friends and family who surrounded us with prayer and love 24/7.
In the midst of suffering,
there was always so much good.
This morning as I read Job 11-14,
it was very clear.
Job was in a rut.
Having a pity party.
Feeling as if God had hidden His face…..
“Man born of woman if of few days and full of trouble.” Job 14:1
There was no indication that Job felt things could get any worse.
His friend Zophar wasn’t much help.
“Put away the sin in your hand. Allow no evil to dwell in your tent…….
THEN you will surely forget your trouble.”
There’s nothing like a friend who thinks you must be doing something wrong for your life to be so hard.
I’ve been where Job is this morning.
I’ve gone to bed sad and woken up even sadder.
I’ve felt as if the world was against me.
I’ve wondered where God is in my day-to-day life.
Life hasn’t always been easy.
But I’ve also gone to bed sad and woken up thankful.
I’ve heard my husband’s words,
“Life could be so much worse,”
and believed them.
I’ve taken the things in my life that are the most difficult to face
and I’ve somehow seen them as blessings.
I don’t know how.
But I do know it’s happened.
Time and time again.
Maybe that’s why I fight so hard when something else is coming my way that I really don’t want to face.
Deep inside I know I’ll be okay.
Deep inside I know everything will work out for good.
In His time.
Like a toddler put to bed against his or her own wishes,
I’ve eventually fallen into a peaceful sleep.
I’m not sure when this moment happens.
But it eventually does………
every single time.
When I face something tough,
I have to make a choice.
A choice I find difficult.
But a choice I never regret.
I have to surrender.
I have to pry my fingers off of whatever part of my life I’m gripping so tightly my knuckles are white and my hands ache.
I have to let go.
And trust the One who holds everything in His hands,
more tightly and more securely than I ever could.
In January I chose the word “surrender” as my word for the year.
What was I thinking?!?
I gave God my entire life as 2019 began.
But if I’m 100% honest,
I’ve spent the past 8 1/2 months fighting to get it back.
This morning as I read the words of Job and then read the next chapter in “Made for This,”
the book my Sunday school class is studying right now,
I was struck by a phrase Jennie Allen recalled hearing from a professor in seminary school,
“embrace the tension.”
I’ve been sitting here for a while this morning thinking about those three words.
I am a “peace at all costs” kind of person,
so tension is something I avoid………..
whatever it takes.
Even if is means personal agony.
So embracing tension sounds dreadful.
But Jennie talks about the fact that no matter how difficult life may be,
God has given us enough to handle it.
Allowing the mystery of His will to run up against our own desires requires being okay with the struggle to make sense of it all.
I’m reading through another book right now on mindfulness called,
“Wherever You Go There You Are.”
This book is all about paying attention to your heart and being still enough and brave enough to listen to it.
And maybe that’s where everything intersects.
Job’s still here.
Sitting in ashes.
Embracing the tension.
Fully being right where he is.
And that’s where I want to be today.
A lot has changed in my life this year.
More change than I thought possible in a few short months.
I’ve fought a lot of it internally all along the way.
God has been doing His work while I’ve tried to stop Him.
And I’m finally reaching a place of peace again.
A peace that truly does pass understanding.
I’m not sure why I’m surprised.
One of my favorite passages is Philippians 4:6-7,
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
How can I love a verse and not live by it?
I’m thankful this morning.
I see the cross in the Wyoming sunrise….
even when it’s an electric pole positioned perfectly between two hills.
Perspective truly is everything.
I have so much to be thankful for even on the most difficult of days.
A little over a month before Nick passed away he was lying on the couch between me and my mom,
holding a cup of coffee and petting my mom’s dog.
As we sat there in the quiet,
Nick rubbed Amber’s head and said,
“Amber, this is the life.”
It truly is.
Don’t waste one more minute.
Embrace the tension.
Sit in the ashes for as long as you need to.
And be fully present wherever you are,
giving thanks way before it makes sense.
Surrender it all.
And I promise,
you will feel a peace that passes human understanding…..
in His time.