A couple of nights ago I was praying over P as I was tucking him in. As I begged God for His Hand of protection to be over my son I felt a tinge of conviction. I thought back to the fundamentals of my Christian beliefs. God created us for His Glory, not our protection. I thought about Copeland Farley and the powerful purpose of her life...a story that literally reached thousands despite the fact she only lived 8 days. Theoretically, my greatest hope for my children is that their lives honor and glorify God. Selfishly, protectively, naturally I pray that involves as little pain as possible. Yet, I am aware of the countless stories of good, solid, God fearing people whose lives have much pain.
I think of my own life story. The defining chapters have been the times of absolute heartbreak, confronting fear head on, struggling to put one foot in front of the other. These were the times when it was clear that despite the world's attempts to tell us otherwise NONE OF US are in control of our own destiny. In retrospect, those events, my story, are the only platform I have.
Last week our neighbors discovered that their young daughter has a mass on her collarbone. It will be biopsied next week, but there is 50% chance it is a malignant tumor that will require radiation and surgery. This family is comprised of some of the neatest, truest, committed folks I know. Needless to say, I am chewing through the problem of suffering.
God knew I needed a word I suppose, because this morning I heard the most powerful sermon I have ever heard. Louie Giglio preached at Buckhead Church on hope in the midst of suffering. His bottomline was that suffering WILL come in this life, but that it is not our master--- it is our megaphone. Suffering, Louie asserted, is the megaphone that broadcasts our life's message. Read that again. Suffering is the megaphone that broadcasts our life's message. Anyone can proclaim to be faithful when everything is going their way, but the rubber meets the road when things get rocky. What message will your life shout when things get difficult?
Severe trials will reveal what we worship. Will the inevitable suffering that life brings lead me to resent God because He has disrupted my comfortable, storybook life or will it lead me to cling to Him more tightly because I know that He is Sovereign and has a holy, perfect will even when it means my discomfort?
Do not misunderstand me. I am scared to even publish this post because I don't want it to seem I am asking for trouble. I cannot bear the thought of those I love dearly being hurt. I do hope this is not a road I will have to endure. But only God knows what is in store. I pray that my life's message can be truly, authentically: To God be the Glory. No matter what curveballs life throws our way.
I have a lot to ponder this afternoon.
"I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."