I have been in another one of those seasons of disappointment. Though many good things are happening, it often seems like the bad outweighs the positive. My prayers are thirsty for answers and the waiting seems like an eternity. My Pastor, Dr. Jeremiah, recently reminded me of the parallels between my own life and the Israelites. He said that, “We can trust God with eternity, but we can’t seem to trust Him with next week.” To the core, I can relate to this human struggle. My husband Dan and I talked about this and said what makes it even harder is when we work so hard to do the right thing, give and serve, and then watch those who do nothing have all they desire handed to them on a silver platter. That is the perception indeed, but is it reality? Deep down, in my heart, I know the answer and I know that God has a very different economy laid out for those who follow Him. Jesus instructed the disciples not to take things from people, as it would distract them from their eternal charge. Creature comforts were just not part of their employee benefits package and fame was reserved for the Creator. This strange dynamic remains today with those of us who reach for that “abandoned” level of service to our Lord. The flesh yearns for fame, stature, financial comfort and ease; yet our feet remain filthy, our pockets with just enough change to buy the day’s meal and our faith, well, it certainly can be shaken.
There is this welling up inside of me that may one day, like a massive geyser, cry out to people……..what are you really sacrificing for the kingdom, what? Countless times, I have heard people speak of their missions as they sip on a cold glass of lemonade from the edge of their swimming pools. I have petitioned on behalf of children who are dying from starvation only to hear that people cannot afford the effort at the present time. Then I watch everyone go home at the end of the night to their newer cars, warm homes and HD TV’s. Once again, the opportunity for abandoned love is lost and instead personal fulfillment is satisfied in the material. I know, I know, this sounds really judgemental, so let’s just say this is for my own edification, as I too own and enjoy an HD TV.
In the midst of my grief and discouragement, I am led back to thanks by the Holy Spirit, because He continues to force the cause in my heart to avoid these trappings. Like the wind, I come and go, in and out of a deeper understanding of the Christian life and its overwhelming ache. At the end of the day, after all the disappointment has raged it’s war in my heart, I end up back at the cross, looking upon the ultimate giver and lover of souls, once again to witness the disappointment in His human life. Such a sight, puts air back into my lungs enabling me to carry on and His love covers the rest.
Behind my discouragement grows a stronger passion to serve our Creator in a new way. Last January, I saw a play called “Glory Man” that is about the life of Clarence Jordan and investor Millard Fuller who founded Habitat for Humanity. In a closing scene, Clarence spoke to a church who had just placed a neon cross on top of their church building. He said, “You spend all your time worshipping Jesus, because you do not want to follow Him.” This was a man who experienced horrible discouragement in His ministry efforts, yet the blessing of Habitat for Humanity sprung from His labor. Clarence’s statement has remained with me, and reminds me of the trust in God that is required when we cannot see “next week.”
Clearly, sorrow is one of the strange blessings that we are given when the scales are removed from our eyes. With sorrow comes concern, and without those who truly grieve for others there would be no Cross, there would be no Habitat for Humanity, there would be nothing but swimming pools, HD TV’s and more malls (well, more than there are today). May we all be reminded to stay the course and not grow weary as we earnestly seek to follow Jesus. It wasn’t easy for Him either.