I have been feeling contemplative lately and just wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, my faith seems to be based on paradox after paradox.
The symbol of my faith is that old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame. Before rebirth can occur, their must first be a death. Growth cannot happen without suffering. I recognize the filth that I have been plastering the walls of my life with and grieve the lies that I have allowed to imprison my mind. My heart and my body eventually experience pain and sorrow. But even though I experience sorrow, I bring those sorrows to that old rugged cross and I leave with joy. I bring my dirty sins, my old way of life, and I leave with an unearned righteousness. The result, then, for following Christ is paradoxically joy.
Peace has always alluded me. For the longest time I craved control, for control is the counterfeit of peace. Control provided the illusion of a calm pond rather than the crushing waters of life that I was so afraid of. But God promises peace for his children. Peace like a river. What is so peaceful about rushing waters that crash over sharp rocks or even plummet over cliffs? Ah, but a river knows its course. A river has a source and a destination. A river accepts its circumstances. The Lord has assigned my portion and my cup; it is designated, measured precisely, just like the river’s course. The secret is Christ in me, not in a different set of circumstances. Therein lies the solution. In acceptance lieth peace.
I am called to be holy, but I am the farthest thing on this planet from holy. Nonetheless, God has called me to a higher standard of living. He knows I cannot achieve it, and so He equips me to persevere through trials and to bear the scars of pruning with dauntless faith. How can we be made holy if we never experience suffering, the holy pruning of our Heavenly Gardener? What we perceive as pain is actually a method of strengthening us. We can offer back our scars to Him so He can transform them. While our problems cannot always be fixed, we can accept them with open hands as the very will of God for now, and that blossoms into something beautiful.
God does not need me to accomplish his plans. But he willingly uses me, listens when I beg and plead, answers my prayers even though I deserve none of it. What counts the most is our response to everything. It all comes down to a choice. It is not what happens to us, but how we respond and how we look to God for strength and guidance.