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I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fear in a fallen world

For the last few years I have really struggled with fear.  I knew that it wasn't right.  I wanted to be able to sit back and trust God and know that no matter what happened, it would be okay.  But I couldn't.  I would think about all the "what ifs" that could devastate my life and let them have power over me.   The world is filled with tragedy and sickness and perversion.  People die in horrible unexpected ways.  People fight and get divorced just because.  People are abused and mistreated.  People fight & suffer with diseases just to die anyway.  And all this bad stuff is no respecter of persons.  Just as it is written in Matthew, it rains on the just as well as the unjust.    "Nice" people as well as "cruel" people.  Christians as well as non-Christians.  The fallenness of this world is overwhelming and I was always wondering, "when is it going to happen to me?".   

I have led a pretty sweet life.  I grew up in a family who loved me, within miles of all four of my grandparents, as well as aunts, uncles, & cousins.  Divorce has only touched my life through friends and distant relatives.  Abuse is something I've only read about.  I was healthy, smart & well-liked.  I never had to fight physical limitations.  I've never tried to overcome a learning disability.  I've never dealt with bullies.  I became a Christian at a young age and as a young person was blessed with a hope & faith that freed me from care. I attended college, made some great friends, and suffered only the minor hurts of disappointment.  As a 31 year old woman, I am amazingly blessed.  I live in a nice warm home with my loving, hard working husband; I have 3 healthy, smart & beautiful little girls.  And over the course of adulthood, rather than focusing on what a blessing this life is and enjoying every moment, I began to feel like it is too good to last and that I needed to be on the alert because any day the proverbial "other shoe" could drop.

Then I had the miscarriage.  As far as tragedies go, I would rate it low.  But it was a loss, none the less, and it brought me to a place with God of asking the ever present question of this fallen world, "why?"  Why do some prayers get answered with miracles and some don't.  Why did that young Christian mother have to die of cancer while the 80 year old man who abused his children lives on?  Why did that vehicle hit that patch of ice?  Why did that couple give up after 18 years of marriage?

And the fact is...God has an answer.  It just often isn't the answer we want to hear.  What I have been learning is that in this mess of a world that was made messy by our own hand, God owes us nothing but he has given us everything.  If He were to step back from us...we would all die.  Our question more appropriately should be, "Why was I allowed such moments of joy?  Why was that person who died of cancer allowed that extra time to say goodbye?  Why was I allowed the blessing of motherhood?  Why am I blessed with an abundance of food & water to care for me and my family?  In a fallen world, the norm should be pain not joy; death not life but because of His provision we get the good with the bad. 
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."   Romans 8:28
As Christians, this is our go-to verse in times of suffering.  It is a promise we hold on to because we don't always see the good.  We don't always feel as if anything good is or could ever come from the experience.  But through this promise we know differently.  This is where it has been helpful for me to look at the life of Joseph in Genesis.  He was beaten & sold into slavery by his own brothers.  Pretty bad...but there is, first of all, a blessing in the the fact that he wasn't dead because they had planned to kill him.  Then he gets to Egypt and is a slave...he is falsely accused of attempted rape and is thrown into prison.  He was in prison A LONG TIME.  Years.  I'll bet it wouldn't feel like a blessing.  But if he hadn't been in prison he wouldn't have had the opportunity to interpret the dreams of the pharoh's servants and therefore the dreams of the pharoh himself.  And if he hadn't done that, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to prepare for the famine and the nation and he and his entire family would have starved to death!  God worked it for good in the end.  I beleive that he is doing the same in our lives even in pain and death.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a beautiful Christian lady who had been fighting cancer for 30 years.  I didn't know her well, only having met her a couple of times, but it didn't take much to see that she knew what mattered in life; that she was someone special.  At the funeral I sat in the back of the church with my girls and listened to the officiant.  He quoted Ecclesiastes 3:4 that says, "there is a time to mourn and a time to dance" and he talked about how we mourn the fact that we will never get to enjoy her here on earth again and remarked how she is dancing in heaven.  That made me smile through my tears.  We get so caught up in the pain & loss of this world that sometimes we consider God's orchestration in it all to be either irrelevant or cruel and we consider tossing Him out.  But that would be to toss our greatest asset in all this suffering!

I started this post talking about my battle with fear.  The ironic thing is that it took a loss, a taste of suffering, to remove it.  Through my miscarriage I learned, more tangibly, that I have no control.  And fear does nothing to prevent anything.  But more importantly I learned that God is the only solid foundation for dealing with the pains of this world.  He is the only place to find hope amidst all the ugliness that this life doles out.  Even if we are never allowed an understanding of the "whys", we can rest in knowing that He does and that when we or those we love die in this battle, they are dancing with Life in a world that knows no suffering.  And that assurance helps ease the fear.


Anonymous said...

I have been struggling alot with fear lately too. something im working on.. thank you for sharing this

wodaking said...

Wonderful post, I'm sorry for your losses... but I'm thankful for you sharing your lessons.

Cle Reveries said...

Thank you for the very very nice and gentle things you say.
Reading your words I've thought of the many events happened in my life. I agree with you when you say: " God is the only solid foundation for dealing with the pains of this world. He is the only place to find hope amidst all the ugliness that this life doles out."