October 20, 2011
Today I woke up quite annoyed. Was it because of the sound of a wood chipper outside my window shredding through what sounded like an entire tree? Not so much. Was it because I had a bad dream? I don’t think so because I can’t really remember my dreams from last night. I do, however, remember waking up in the middle of the night and wondering if I was actually awake or dreaming, and if I was dreaming I was probably going to be really upset that I was using the bathroom.
No, I woke up today annoyed that I wasn’t going to work. What an American thing to think, huh? But yeah, I was upset. I was told I would be working at this job full time for weeks, and I was really enjoying it at first, but it has not turned out to be what I was told it would be, and today was further proof as I found myself done with my work for the week, and also done making money for the week.
It’s been a frustrating few years for me to say the least. Nothing has quite gone according to plan, or anywhere near the plan.
So like a great man of faith, I reluctantly and without even the weakest desire opened up my Bible, only because I just knew I should. I’ve been reading through the Psalms and today I read Psalm 74. It seems to me that I’m not the first person in the world to have felt like I am feeling.
“Why have you rejected us forever, O God? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? – We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.”
That stuff is IN the Bible. That’s real life. And here’s something straight out of my journal this morning:
Maybe this is just my own Psalm that is similar to that one as I write out my frustrations. It honestly sucks right now and I have no hope. And if I feel like I’m getting hope it just scares me because I know it’s not going to work out. I feel like I should now never tell anyone about anything going on until it actually happens because I’m so sick of having to follow up with “It didn’t work out.” And right now, nothing has worked out. If this is a fistfight, I feel like I haven’t given a solid punch in forever. I just keep taking the blows.
At the risk of being a huge nerd, I am going to reference The Dark Knight right now, because this is what has been going through my mind for the past few days, and it fits so just go with.
In the film, Bruce Wayne is about to reveal that he is Batman because he feels responsible for the deaths of the people the Joker is killing, because he said he would kill someone every day until Batman came forward. Bruce asks Alfred, “What would you have me do?” Alfred replies, “Endure, Master Wayne. Take it.”
And this thought has been going through my mind constantly. Endure.
Maybe it will get better, so endure.
Maybe it will never get better, so endure.
I really don’t know too much of what is an absolute guarantee when it comes to life and faith in God. Some may tell you that you will be delivered from any conflict or trial, but I don’t know if that’s a guarantee. What about the martyrs who die for their faith in Jesus? They were not delivered. The men and women locked in prison walls that God never breaks down. They are not delivered, but they endure. There are men and women of faith fighting through cancer and another life-taking diseases, crying out to a God who has healed countless people but is not healing them. They endure.
If you’ve never prayed a Psalm 74, I don’t know if this can make much sense to you right now. I’ve never had cancer or been in prison, but face down in tears I’ve prayed, “Why have you rejected me forever, O God? I am given no miraculous signs and I don’t know how long this will be.” I’ve thought so many times that things were about to change, and then they did not. But somehow I endure, and it simply cannot be by my own strength.
“Lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
Interesting. These verses give us some guarantees, but there aren’t any guarantees for freedom in this life. Jesus did not say, “He who endures until the end… of the year.”
The end? Death? Maybe some fights do not end until we end.
God may never deliver you in front of your family and friends. I don’t know if it is a guarantee that if you struggle for a while in life, eventually something will click and you will be rewarded and redeemed in life for what you went through.
You may never feel justified in this world, but maybe this is not the world that God is preparing you for.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
What is coming in the next world cannot even be compared to this present one. I don’t think it should be called an “afterlife” because for those who believe, heaven is where life truly begins.
Endure, saints. Endure! God would not let you bear it if he did not think you could take it. Our Father, who is in heaven, looks upon us from eternity’s view. Eternity will reveal more to us than we can imagine, and it will reveal more in us than we ever knew was there.
I’ve seen God move mountains, and I’ve seen mountains crumble onto men. I have only come to realize that it is not my place to understand it all; it is my job to follow. You can stand there with your fist to the sky and demand God give you justice, which I’ve done, but I’ve found that it only produces more unrest and pain. If I have to be at odds with the world, then I want to be at peace with God.
Endure. Take it. I can guarantee you eternity will prove worth it.