I’d rather not suffer.
Who, in their right mind, would prefer living in the dark places of life over the good times? I much prefer times of dancing and celebration. Six months ago, just before Covid lockdown, were able to go Stateside and take part in our son’s wedding festivities. Those days were full of fun, good food and lots of laughter. The hard part came when we had to say goodbye.
On many occasions, I’ve thought it would be easier not to visit loved ones in order to avoid the inevitable, tearful, goodbyes. Those are hard places to navigate; I always wonder how I will overcome the deep sadness that accompanies the “Gospel Goodbye” yet somehow I always find myself getting through. I would never trade my life for the “what ifs” that enter my mind when we have to say goodbye – it is the price we pay when doing what we do, and it is a steep price. I will say, though, that the price of obeying God is never greater than His grace is in us to get the job done when our own strength is finished.
I’ve read various blogs, articles and listened to as many (if not more) messages giving advice on how to get through the “valleys” of life. “Valleys” of course speaking of the difficult times that we all have lived. Valleys aren’t fun, they are hard and they often bring out parts of us that we’d rather keep hidden.
The recent Covid pandemic has heightened our awareness of our need to rely on God’s strength when our own is failing. It’s during these hard moments that, if we allow Him, God will work in us in ways that far exceed what we had ever thought possible. Years ago when we were planting our first church in Burundi, war broke out and we were faced with the almost daily choice of “should we stay or should we go?” Yesterday, I drove nearby the house we lived in during the hottest days of the war and recalled to those in the car how tracer bullets and rockets were fired over our roof on a nightly basis for many weeks at a time. I wonder today at the strength God placed in our hearts to trust Him.
It was during those very difficult days that we understood, at least partially, the power of God to sustain when nothing else can. Phone lines were cut, power was cut, water was cut and there was no way out. But God was always there, holding us close to His heart, and we made it through. We had small children with us throughout those years and I prayed that God would cover them – and He did. Today, those three little ones have grown and are married, have children and love God and one another. I shudder to think what might have happened had we not trusted God. Had we run and not faced the giants.
Psalm 31:21 NASB “Blessed be the Lord, for He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city.”
Life is hard no matter how or where you live. Every perfect place will someday have its dark moment. It is then that we can either run figuratively or even literally, or choose to face the giants. What’s funny is that those giants, if we choose to run from them, will find their way to our next backyard and the next until we summon the courage to take a stand.