We’ve been blindsided these last few months since the outbreak of Covid-19. As a nation, as communities, as families. Our churches shut their doors and though the online activity of religious organizations has skyrocketed, there is something missing in the communion of the saints face-to-face.
I am overweight and exhausted at six months pregnant, my health has tanked again due to the recurrence of an autoimmune issue I’ve dealt with since age 14. , I have four children who are experiencing cabin fever at all new levels, my husband took a 10% pay cut at his job indefinitely, and migraines/severe headaches have been my near-constant companion due to vision changes during pregnancy that I cannot correct because the eye doctor has been marked as non-essential during the pandemic.
These are the times that try souls.
To say that these last months have been a time of trial and tribulation would be the understatement of the year—so far anyway. I mean, we do have eight more months left to go in 2020. 😊
And I would be lying if I refused to admit to moments of despair, desperation, and depression. Moments when I couldn’t breathe for the tightness in my chest and the heaviness on my heart. Moments where I cried out to God asking Him why.
While Thomas Paine was discussing war and its devastating effects on a foundling nation, his words ring true even here,
“These are the times that try men’s (and women’s) souls.”
I know that I am not alone in facing trials and tribulations. Every one of my readers can probably attest to multiple times in their lives where it seemed the darkness had snuffed out all light and they stumbled blindly from one struggle to the next, crying out for relief and doubting it would come in time.
Maybe it was the loss of family members after long-fought battles with illnesses that wasted away the loved one’s countenance. Maybe a job loss, marital discord, or a rebellious child choosing to go their own way to their destruction.
The human plight of suffering is nothing new, as old as the moment when God threw Adam and Eve from the garden paradise he had created and set his redemption plan in motion. We live in a broken, fallen world that cannot catch its breath between the labor pains caused by the curse of sin and death. It is excruciating, devastating, and gives us much cause for despair.
God has never been surprised by any of it. He knows, He understands, and in the end, He even suffered along with His creation as He gave the ultimate sacrifice in the person of His Son. He had to turn His face away as Jesus Christ committed His body to the cross and took on all of humanity’s sin, suffering, and death.
Redemption is such an amazing word is it not?
So is Restoration. Reconciliation. Healing. Salvation.
Because that, my dear readers, is the ultimate end of this story. Every moment of suffering and death and loss is covered in the crimson blood of a Savior who felt the blows and stings of being human and conquered death for us. He gave us hope and a future through His sacrifice and left this earth with the promise that our story, His story, is not yet finished.
I like to repeat this phrase to my family every time we go through trials, and I would like to think that I am beginning to live as if I believe it fully,
“God has already won the victory. The rest of us are just catching up to His joyful conclusion.”
How to Deal with Life Happening
I was not certain until I began writing this, which direction I wanted to take. I have all the trite phrases and words of comfort in my arsenal that I could pull out and throw on a page like so much hopeful word vomit. And doesn’t that just sound so pleasant?
Because like Job amid suffering, words of comfort and consolation only seemed to sicken his stomach and drive him to madness. In the middle of suffering, we don’t always want to hear the words we know are true. We want to mourn and weep and cling to our despair like a cloak of protection.
However, this is a blog post about how to deal with life when it hits us like a sledgehammer, so I do want to say a few words before I sit in silence and allow time for the grieving and mourning to pass.
Three points that I wish to leave you with, and I hope that they offer you as much comfort as they have given me in this time of struggle.
1. Life sucks.
A lot sometimes. It was never meant to be easy and that knowledge gives me comfort if you can believe it. If I live, fully aware that life will hurt at times and that God’s own Son willingly entered into that life with us, I can still struggle and question my pain, but I have security in knowing that I know the One with the answers. I don’t need to have all the answers because the One who suffered with us and died for us has promised an end to the brokenness of the world. That hope makes life suck a little less in the meantime.
2. Life is beautiful.
I listed off a fraction of the struggles my family is facing right now, and it is easy to lose myself in the pain of it. But in my exhaustion, I get to sit and feel the movements of a brand-new life within me that God created. In the pay cut, my husband took, God, has continued to supply all our needs, and more than we need even. We’ve even been able to bless others in need because of His grace and provision for us. My children have been directing their cabin fever to random projects that a more structured environment would have stifled. My eldest is studying genealogies and history (when just a few months ago, she was wailing about having to crack open her history books), my boys are learning how to cook basic meals to help me out and feed our youngest daughter when I’m too tired to get out of bed in the morning. The two-year-old wakes up every morning with a smile on her face and cuddles with her daddy and me while we sip coffee and do a devotional together. These moments are moments of joy and beauty that I often miss when life is “normal.” Taking a pause in the midst of suffering to acknowledge and be thankful for these moments reminds me of my desperate need for God and His obvious, overwhelming love for me.
3. Life doesn’t end in suffering.
On the cross, Jesus did more than take-on the sins of the world. He conquered death, disease, suffering, chaos, and destruction. Like I said earlier, we’re just catching up to His victory because it’s already happened. It is difficult to remember that in the hard times, but it’s so true. Because of our hope in Christ and our surrender to His will in our lives, our lives, our stories don’t end on a note of suffering. They begin with victory. From start to finish, we are covered in His victory. And that is worth every moment of our trials and tribulations here on earth.
So take heart, dear readers. Life does hit hard at times, it does bring us sorrow and pain. Yet it also brings the promise of joy and beauty and salvation and victory and we cannot forget that in the middle of the hard times.
Hold on. Breathe deep, in and out. Remember Who suffered with us and for us.
- How to Deal with Life Happening - May 11, 2020
- History of Christmas Traditions and the 12 Days of Christmas - December 9, 2019