I was overwhelmed and whining to God, as I sometimes do. I was giving Him a sort of replay of my recent trials. (As if He didn’t know.) And I went alllllll the way back.
All. The. Way.
I bemoaned a litany of trials that have been my lot for as long as I can remember. Like an attorney before a judge, I laid it all out there. It was a rather pitiful attempt to prove how unfair things have been.
I think at one point I even told the Lord, “This isn’t normal. Regular people don’t have to deal with ALL of this.”
Yeah, I know.
In hindsight, that prayer was ridiculous. I don’t know all of the unique hardships experienced by “regular people.” But, I’m sure they are many. And probably many more than mine.
Recently, though, mine have felt “over the top.” But then… in the midst of my moaning, I saw it. Right there in the Word of God…
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Rejoice? For real? That wasn’t the scripture I wanted to read. I wanted the “hey girl - your miracle is right around the corner” scripture. I wanted the “hang tight - I’m fixing this as we speak” scripture.
But the “rejoice in your sufferings” scripture? Really?
Friends, I wasn’t there. Truth be told, I’m still not there, even as I type this. I’m exhausted. I’m hurt. Quite frankly, I’m just plain over it all.
(My apologies to those who clicked this blog for an uplifting pep talk.)
Anyway, even though it wasn’t the scripture I wanted to read, I couldn’t skim by it. Deep down I knew that when something ruffles my feathers like that, it’s something I need to hear. It’s something I need to think long and hard about.
And so I did. And it occurred to me…
Christ suffered anxiety to the point of sweating blood.
Christ was abandoned and rejected by those he loved.
Christ suffered physically in every single part of His body.
Christ was lied about, misunderstood, betrayed.
Christ came face-to-face with evil in the wilderness. And He encountered it in the people around him.
Now, this is the part where I’m supposed feel grateful that Christ understands my sufferings. It’s the part where I am supposed to say, “At least I haven’t sweat blood or been nailed to a cross.”
Better yet… this is the part where I’m supposed to lean into other, similar scriptures, such as…
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed...” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
This is the part where - after my big, grand epiphany - I’m supposed to “rejoice.”
Except… like I said… I’m not there yet.
I know where I’m “supposed” to be at this point in the story. But instead, it’s like I’m stuck in some long chapter called “tired.”
So why am I even bothering to write this?
Well, because deep down, I think it’s okay to be right where I am. And I think it’s okay to share that with you. It’s okay for you to know I don’t have it all together. And that for as many blogs as I write about inspiring revelations and miracles, there are just as many tear-stained pages hiding unpublished in my notebook.
And I think that’s okay.
It’s okay to not have it all figured out. To be annoyed. Frustrated. Sad. Hurt.
In fact… okay, here comes the epiphany, guys…. I think that’s actually how “regular” people feel.
So I guess it’s okay to read a scripture and not quite be there yet. As long as we keep pushing forward to the next chapter. In life and in the Word. Even — and probably most especially — when we’re just not feeling it.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)