… It gets damn hard. There’s a little voice telling me my friends have let me down. Failed to be there for me when I most need them. And I want to shout and punch the wall. I want God to take me to Him, because heaven is the only place I will feel perfectly content and at peace.
And then I remember. Heaven is the only true place I will feel perfectly content and at peace. Until then, there will be struggles and trials and temptations. It will be hard. It is hard. It can be damn hard sometimes, so hard it hurts. And it’s times like these when it’s easy for the bad stuff to get in. The stuff that makes us feel weak and inadequate. Incapable, small, lost, forgotten, unheard. And that can lead us to do things that will make us feel comforted and raise our self-value. And sometimes that thing that makes us feel better about ourselves is sin.
We cannot escape the bad times. We were destined to encounter pain at some point in our lives. We cannot compare our pain with each other because our lives are so different. But we can look to the One who, in His mercy and compassion, decided that the thing to do was to turn it all around. The struggles and trials He turned into character-building blocks (Romans 5:1-4), the hardships He turned into an adoption process by which to set apart His true children (Hebrews 12:1-13).
Jesus experienced pain at such a deep level He felt “sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:36-46). Abandoned by His friends, He spent His last night praying. Did His friends abandon Him on purpose? No! I heard it said once that the walk to Gethsemane was long and steep. That and the fact that it was late in the night meant that Jesus’ disciples were most likely extremely tired. No wonder they fell asleep. And yet Jesus’ words to them are, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41).
The flesh is weak. And I have fallen so many times. Others have fallen so many times. We fail each other and it hurts and it can get lonely and cold. But we’re called to hang in there, to not give in. To endure the hard times so that we can praise the One who created us for creating an exit. One day we will no longer be expected to expect the bad days.
Knowing this doesn’t make it easier. And whatever life is throwing at you right now, I don’t have an answer or an escape route. The pain is still there, and it’s real and ugly. But knowing this does give us hope. Hope, because we know that not allowing ourselves to crumble is worthwhile. Hope, because we know that looking up instead of down will reflect His light into the world and be a guiding light to others who are just about to fall. Hope, because we know that faith is such a beautiful thing to have in the midst of destruction.
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:19