If you were to ask me if I were an optimist or a pessimist, I would tell you neither. I don’t look at life and see all roses and sunshine and rainbows where there aren’t any, but I also, don’t look at it and see all the horrible things that are wrong or could go wrong (most of the time). I would say I land solidly in the category of realist. If there’s a problem, I work to solve it. If something is good, I celebrate it. But you’ll rarely find me sitting in the land of denial in either direction. Life is not perfect, but it’s also not a Greek tragedy.
There are those who would say that acknowledgement of reality is a lack of faith. However, I in no way form or fashion believe that acknowledging what is squarely in front of you somehow shows a lack of faith. I do believe that allowing the hard realities to consume you, to cause you to turn inward rather than toward God, to become bitter and angry and cynical in the face of difficult circumstances, does absolutely show a lack of faith and trust in our Creator, but you know what? He’s not sitting there waiting to whack you over the head with that lack of faith or trust. He just wants you, like the Father in Mark 9, try cry out “I believe! Help my unbelief!” He’d rather have the real, honest you than conjured up faith that denies reality any day.
Y’all life can be hard sometimes. Understatement of the year. And we don’t have to pretend otherwise. That doesn’t mean we have to broadcast all our issues and problems to the whole world. Sometimes we say and share way too much under the pretense of being authentic, but there is an importance in bringing all of ourselves to God’s throne. In pouring our whole heart out to Him. In acknowledging the truth of our struggles, our pain, and our grief before Him, and asking Him to strengthen and sustain us . . . to help us and heal us. He wants us to ask. It’s not as if He doesn’t know so why not tell Him?
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17
Helper – (a) an advocate, intercessor, (b) a consoler, comforter, helper . . .
Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit here. Why would He send us the Holy Spirit to advocate, intercede, console, comfort, and help unless He knew we would need that? We should not be ashamed of the God given feelings we have. We should not be ashamed of the struggles we face. In John 16:33 Jesus literally tells us, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” I’ve already said it, but for emphasis I’ll say it again, we are going to face things, hard things, on this earth. This is a broken and sinful world we live in, but make no mistake, if Jesus is our Savior, we win. Period. The key is in not trying to “fix” it all ourselves. In not trying to be the one in control, but in trusting the only ONE who is.
I’m a words person. Words carry a lot of weight for me. I have to be very careful to remember that my words can literally build others up or tear others down. To always take into account Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” To keep at the forefront of my mind that what I say matters and words are very powerful things. But my words do not carry the same weight as those of God. My words cannot create or manifest reality (both new age concepts that have become wildly popular in Christian circles) in the same way that God’s words do. And so, while my words can be both a healing balm or a weapon depending on how I use them, at the end of the day, they are best poured out boldly before God, knowing that He can handle them. Because, in the person of Jesus, He was both fully God and fully man, and He gets “it”. Whatever “it” is that you’re facing. He doesn’t just sympathize, He empathizes. He understands. And He is so full of grace for us in our human hurts and struggles and heartache and pain.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
I’m not sure how cohesive all of this is. And I feel a little bit as if I’m talking (writing) in circles. But these thoughts have been so heavy on my heart these past few weeks that I felt I had to share them. If you’re hurting, know you are deeply loved by a good Father who is for you. Don’t be afraid to turn it all over to Him. Don’t be afraid to tell Him how you’re feeling (whatever those feelings may be), what you’re facing, or even what you’re afraid of. I promise He can handle it.