"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (II Corinthians 12:9b-10, NIV, emphasis mine)Ouch! I certainly can't say that I boast gladly in my weaknesses. I definitely don't delight in my weaknesses, insults, hardships, or difficulties either. While I don't feel as if I am currently undergoing persecution, I still remember my growing up years of going to a Christian school where I was made fun of for being loving God, witnessing, and choosing to be like Christ rather than the world. Because I felt that it was more important to love Jesus rather than be like the other high school girls and faun over boys and go out on dates, I was accused of being a homosexual. While that kind of persecution doesn't hold a candle to my brothers and sisters who are so dear to me in the Middle East not to mention other parts of the world, I still didn't delight in being mocked, falsely accused, and ostracized. No one likes to feel lonely.
Maybe it's the increasing struggles I am facing with our kids or maybe it's been the fact that since celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary in June and discussing how different our lives have turned out to be from the plans we had when we got married, but I have been doing a lot of reflecting and introspection lately. I sometimes struggle with the why's of how nothing can be easy for us. Our boys' health and well-being are a challenge daily and nothing seems to be a simple fix. There's the ongoing battles of services, therapies, insurances, and medication management. Raising two kids with special needs is not easy, but God's grace is sufficient. However, I have discovered that I need to take it a step further as Paul did. I need to delight in these struggles God has ordained in my life. I have begun the next step of processing what that looks like and how to actually do that.
Since I am enjoying a little time away with my husband from my daily struggles as Tim's parents graciously care for the boys, I decided it's time to put my thoughts into written words, which always helps me to process and solidify what God is teaching me and how He is changing my heart. As I sit here on a comfortable bench with beautiful blue sky above me and palm trees waving in the delightful breeze, I feel the words just pouring out of my soul.
|My view as I type|
I have recently finished reading Joni Eareckson Tada's book The God I Love. I highly recommend it. Joni is wonderful with words, is so completely transparent with her struggles, and has wonderful insight about why God allows suffering. As a result of reading that book, I have begun to read a book she wrote with her friend Steve Estes, who pastors a church in the town where we live: When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty. This book has been transformational in the way I think and has helped to resolve a problem in my own mind with how to address suffering in relation to God's love and design for our lives.
God is sovereign. Therefore, everything that happens in my life, including all of my suffering, happens as a result of his design. That means that there is only one plan for me, and no circumstance can change that. There is no such thing as plan B or C for my life. I need to stop living with "what ifs" and start living in "what is" and learn to delight in it. How could a God of love decree so much suffering? Stay tuned for Part 2.