I decided to simplify the layout of this blog in correspondence with my desire to simplify my life as much as possible. My wonderful friend, Vanessa, is creating my header for me with some of my most cherished photos of my family. It'll be up soon. :)
Last night as I was trying to figure out what template I wanted to incorporate here, I read a post I had written on Facebook back in June 2009.
It's funny to read it and realize that I thought I had 'hard' problems back then, and little did I know in a few short weeks I would be undergoing a hysterectomy at the age of 27. Little did I know, that a year later, I would undergo a bi-lateral mastectomy. Little did I know, that the gray areas of my life would be such a comfort to me in the following months. Little did I know, those words would minister to me time and time again.
Here's the post...
As most of you in my life know, there is one particular area that I really struggle with. I have tried everything to make sense of it. I've spent countless hours praying about it, and the stress it causes in my life. I sat back for a long time and said nothing, hoping the issue would resolve over time. When that didn't happen, I tried confronting the problem head on. Thinking maybe, honesty, was what needed to be put out there. The attempt failed yet again. I was at a loss. Last night as I was talking to one of my dear friends, her husband told her to tell me to take a step back.
I've tried this already, and it got me no where. But Lord I am trusting you will make sense of this. You will show me what I need to do.
Flash forward to this morning. I was in the bathroom, and Breanna walked in carrying my Bible. The one my parents gave me 11 years ago. As I grabbed it from her...honestly, a little annoyed she had taken it off my nightstand, I looked down and saw it was opened to Roman 3-6. Wouldn't you know it, Romans 5:1-11 just happens to talk about peace.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
The Biblical word tribulation has its root meaning in the word "thresh".
What is a tribulation? Those big unavoidable trials that threaten to cut you down and beat you back and forth. Is being threshed easy? No. Is it pleasant? Absolutely not. But in Romans 5, Paul tells us that tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance yields "character".
God is after something precious in our soul. He's after patience, perseverance, and strong character. How is the grain of our soul harvested? Only through threshing...through tribulation.
I often sit and wonder what is the end 'result' God is hoping will be achieved through this testing. Or why everything can't be black and white.
I read a devotional once by the author Debra Klingsporn called Trusting in the Unseen
"Sitting on my bookshelf is a book published several years ago called The Myth of Certainity. The title alone catches my eye and speaks to me with a ring of truth. How I long for a world of black and white, good and bad, yes and no; a world of clear-cut distinctions and effortless decisions because the good and bad can be easily identified. No blurring rationalizations. No complicating considerations.
But clear-cut distinctions and effortless choices aren't true to my experience of life. Between black and white are shades of gray. Between good and bad are confusing questions. Between yes and no is a strong maybe.
The fact of the matter is, no matter how black and white and absolute some defenders of the faith portray the gospel, I simply can't buy that line. My experience and the experience of people of faith throughout the centuries, is one of a God who meets us in the questions, who honors our seeking, and who created us to be intelligent beings. When it comes to faith, if we're looking for proof and certainity, we won't find it.
Living at the heart of faith is living with uncertainity, trusting in the unseen. Somewhere along the way, we have to leap to chasm between that which we know absolutely and that which calls us from within. Yet even in our uncertainity, we walk in the presence of the holy.
God is far more interested in our honesty than our piety. We have only to offer him a willing heart and truthful spirit and he'll take it from there, meeting us in the chasm as we make the leap."
At times I wonder how God might be pleased with my leaping through the unknown of the things in my life that aren't black and white. How am I benefited from going through so much testing and not understanding it for even a split second. I know, that spiritual grain is to be found only in those with noble character. And somehow that makes the beating and flailing of a threshing trial and the non-understandable parts of the gray worthwhile, because I know He is meeting me in my questions. And He alone is the answer.
Just like in the header you will soon see at the top of my page...if you take a really good look at your life, you, too, will see that some of the most beautiful things in your life are in the gray.
I want to leave you all with a song my sister introduced me to...