How to Find Wonder in the Midst of Pain and Suffering
There are hard times in life. Ask anyone - from a five-year-old that doesn't get to go to a friend's birthday party to an eighty-year-old who lost his wife of sixty years. Life has its challenges, its difficult moments, its hurdles to overcome, but sometimes those moments seem to crowd out the beauty of life.
How can wonder be found in destruction and pain?
Parading across the stage, wonder makes its grand entrance as we see how pain magnifies the beauty of grace.
After all, what would life be without darkness to offer contrast? The grace of a beautiful sunrise would not be so profound, if it was not juxtaposed against the black of night. Those moments are still incredibly hard, though. They cut deep, obscuring the beautiful Grace from our vision for a time.
I have been struggling with one of those hard moments over the past few weeks. Decisions, decisions, decisions, and I don't know how to make them. This specific decision was of the life-altering sort - the kind that threaten to creep up your spine and bite you in the neck if you take one wrong step...or so it felt.
But, God's grace continues even in the pettiness of such decisions. He gave me dear, sweet friends to redirect me to His path. Their words were like a cold cloth against a feverish heart. I was so caught up in the difficulties of life that I failed to see my purpose clearly, and their words re-oriented me. My friends reminded me all the worry is pointless.
Our God is sovereign. Our call in life is not to write our own story, but rather to follow the one He has written, glorifying Him every step of the way.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil not spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:25-30 ESV)
We are each one character in a cast of billions. And yet, God has taken the time to plan each of our roles, from the moment we enter stage left, to the moment we exit stage right. We may stumble along the way, forget some lines, make a foolish gesture, but we can still get from left to right in exactly the fashion God desired for us.
The play does not end because of one forgotten line. The Playwright is a merciful, loving one, consistently saying, “Go on, I will lead you safely through.”
When we have God directing our steps, we do not need to be so concerned with every little detail. Like walking a tightrope with Him holding your hand, you can move forward confidently, head held high because He is guiding your steps.
Seek Him. Step forward. Remember you cannot stumble out of His hand. You may trip, you may begin to tumble forward, but He will never let you fall to the ground. When it feels like life is crumbling around you, and the darkness is beginning to crowd out the light, remember the unseriousness of our lives.
The earth does not depend upon us. Our misspoken words, bad choices, stumbled steps, do not take away our salvation when repentance is in our hearts. Compared to the Creator of this complex, beautiful world, we are nothing.
When we embrace our unimportance, we can rest in the supernatural peace of Christ. The kind of peace that permeates your soul, leaving you at rest in the midst of a fifty foot wave. The peace that reminds you, “I am nothing, and yet God exhalted me to something.”
[pullquote width="300" float="left"]Live the life you have been given with a reckless abandon overflowing with His joy. Glorify Him with every fiber in your body.[/pullquote]
He set man in dominion over the earth. He sent His Son to die on the cross not for Satan, not for the angels, not for the servants of the devil, but for us - you and me!
In our unimportance, God made us important. Don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow is unimportant while it is today.
God will provide. We can rest assured knowing our missteps and fumbles do not alter the end prize. His grace abounds.
Laugh when you have had an impossible day, because the joy of even having a day cannot be contained. Let out a full-bellied laugh, head thrown back, shoulders quaking, when the hardships of life stop you in your tracks, because these hardships are child's play compared to the eternal joy found in heaven. They are a speck of mud that cannot hide the wonder of the diamond.
Out of the trillions of people God could have placed in your role, He placed you. He gave you this beautiful, tragic, blessed life to experience. How joy-inspiring is that?!