“I don’t want to let a perfectly good terrible circumstance go to waste.”
A young man recently said these words as he was talking about the unexpected health issues that he was currently facing. I greatly appreciated his wise and challenging perspective. Every Monday morning, I write down a “something to ponder” question in my journal and this week, the question was, “Do I yearn for God as the good times roll by AND as the tough times stay around for a while?
When I was teaching full time, it seemed like every second of the day was swallowed up by classes to prepare and teach, students to tutor, endless commitments to honor, early mornings to mentor and problems to solve. As the years passed, it began to feel like I woke up every morning, reved the motor and ploughed through the day. I was very aware of the fear in my heart, that if anything out of the ordinary were to happen, there just wouldn’t be enough of me left to respond well. Although it was an extremely difficult decision to make, I am so thankful that I took the opportunity to step off that crazy work wheel. The choice came with a price that Chris and I were willing to pay.
The rhythm of my writing days these past two years has allowed many beautiful moments to stop and thank God…in the good times and the not-so-good times. I savor the freedom to order my days, make time to read His Word, exercise, remember birthdays, think creatively, spend time with people, laugh, serve my family and rest well. The slower pace of life has been revitalizing – I am better equipped to act on the truth that God is present and loving in every situation. When the inevitable challenges come, there is margin to respond and willingness to allow all my plans to change. I am able to see that a “perfectly good terrible circumstance” has endless potential to deepen my love for and need of God. I can speak with conviction that God never wastes pain in our lives.
Recently, I have been given many opportunities to help people deal with their grief, disappointment, disillusionment and fear – all the messy stuff in life. I’ve been able to be a voice of encouragement with the perspective that life isn’t about dodging the tough times, that the best way is to go through, not around and that God is enough, no matter what trouble comes.
In my life, the darker the day, the more I yearn for the Light. There is no “why me?” or “if only.” I know that my flesh naturally yearns for comfort and ease but the more life behind me, the more that my heart cries out, “Just give me Jesus.” Aging biblically definitely provides a much bigger and healthier perspective on the “messy” days.
One thing for sure – perfectly good terrible circumstances are part of living in this world: no one escapes them.