It could be said that the day Jesus was beaten mercilessly, crucified, took on the sin of the world, and then died was not a good day. But because of his sacrifice we are all saved, if only we would choose to receive it!
I need my mind to be there right now: resting in His mercy, love, and grace. But my flesh is hurting right now. Hurting because today has been a bad day. This week has been a bad week and I am weary of the pain and frustration of the world.
We had to have the back brakes done on my car today. It was expensive. We didn't have an emergency fund because we haven't had the ability to acquire one since we last used it up. We have lots of emergencies, if you didn't know: Cars break down. Uninsured ER visits. Sickness.
Being broke sucks. I hate it. It's not the being poor part. I've gotten used to that. It's the feeling that we've done something wrong even though we haven't done anything. It's the inability to move. Paralyzation. Needing to buy ___ and having no money to do so. Not being able to find a job that compensates well enough financially while allowing my children to actually see their dad.
They went to bed tonight, "I miss Daddy. When will he be home? Will we see him in the morning?" Breaks my heart. I want him to be able to tuck them in and kiss them goodnight, but as we all know if you want to make any money waiting tables, then you need to work nights and weekends.
I'll be perfectly honest: sometimes I have those moments where I wonder why. Why does so-and-so get to work here and make plenty of money and live in a nice house and see their family every night and weekend while we've spent the last 7 years struggling? I know I'm not supposed to think that way, and I don't dwell there, but I am human. Please don't judge me. I battle my sin and my flesh every day, I don't need you to tell me to correct it .
I imagine Jesus. The crown of thorns placed upon His head. The beatings. The nails. And I wonder: did He know this was the cost? Was there a direct correlation in His mind between the pain and the beauty? Or was He like me, wondering if this is the cost, why doesn't it feel like it connects to Him more? There seems to be such a disconnect to me, although I know there isn't. I view everything through spiritual glasses, like it or not, I believe this is what the scriptures lead me to. Nothing is worthless or meaningless. God's plans are good and perfect and "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). So my heart gets it, but my body doesn't.
The pain. That's what I feel. So selfish to even call what I'm going through pain compared to crucifixion. Is this suffering? It feels like it. Is it holy suffering or is it somehow self-induced like the world (and even other believers) want us to believe? If it is holy suffering do we bring Him glory in the middle of it? Like I said, it feels like such a disconnect. I guess I'm longing for some divine breakthrough right now, that either our circumstances would change, or I would see the bigger picture so that the suffering looked beautiful, just like what Jesus did on the cross... I guess what I'm saying is, I'm ready for Easter: the day His death became beautiful. I want my life, our lives, to be beautiful. I want the joy that I know Jesus felt when the sun rose and the stone rolled away: a new morning with all the spiritual implications of newness attached. Oh the glory of it all!
I don't long for worldy treasures. I really don't. I just want to be able to have food on the table and clothe our children, pay our bills, and be Jesus to those around us. So many people in our lives don't get it at all. They can't imagine a single day where they can't go to the grocery store, or if they go they can only get bread and milk...unless they put it on the credit card. It's interesting the dynamic: most middle-class Christians imagine the poor are those people who live in other countries, and they grieve for them. But if you sit next to them in church and you don't know how you're gonna pay rent tomorrow, well you must not be making wise choices in your finances then.
I don't know, I think what I feel is a combination of pressure from the world to conform to a certain lifestyle (in everything: food, house, clothes, beauty, cars, furniture...status quo) and legitimately questioning this endless hardship we face with our finances. We have crossed so many mountains with it: humility (spiritual and worldly), wondering if we were sinning in our spending or in other areas of our lives to cause God to withold financial provision from us, spiritual warfare (is the enemy robbing from us?), suffering (God wants us to experience financial suffering to teach us more about what Jesus did for us), questioning everything (how can we do better in this, how can we save? what have we done wrong? what do we need to do now? what are we supposed to learn?)... I don't know what it is. People ask us all the time if we have an idea of why we have gone through the amount of suffering we have in our 7 years of marriage, or me in my 27 years of life. It all depends on the season you ask it. Every season presents a different mountain of questions and answers. I know there's glory in it, but right now I'm just not sure what the question or the mountain is. I wish I did. More than that I wish I could see the beauty of it. I know in my heart there's beauty, but I wish I could get up each morning and live with purpose, drive, peace, joy...no matter the circumstances.
I know the answer lies here. My heart confirms it. I just wish my flesh weren't so finicky....
"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.'
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:29-39).