We have run into many responses in the last two weeks after finding out about our daughter’s diagnosis. Some good, some trying to be good… and we have such a burden to write about why our response is the way it is.
It starts at the beginning. Before Alex and I were married, before we even knew each other, we both individually met someone who transformed our lives. Someone who knew us deeper than any human could and who asked everything of us. It was the person of Jesus. As individuals we chose to give everything about ourselves to Him and for His glory – no longer to be a life about “us” but a life in offering to Him! When we met and got married, our marriage was set apart for the SAME purpose. That just as we had decided to follow Jesus as singles, we would together give our life to Jesus as one unit. This is the foundation of our existence as a couple and to go outside of that is like stepping off of a rock into sinking sand.
Since our very first year of marriage, we have met trial after trial. Though those trials were not at the capacity of the one we currently face, they are what God has used to form us and mold us into His image. From false accusations, homelessness, joblessness, drama and other trials we have been trained to look to Jesus.
We can’t skip over the struggle though. This is mostly what I want to address. The struggle is real – but something I want to define is the WAY we struggle. As a Christian, what is the proper way to wrestle through suffering? We WILL wrestle. In fact I would say that in order to grow we HAVE to wrestle. But how does a Christian wrestle well?
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5
Our struggle and wrestling as Christians are testing grounds that bring forth strength. They are faith producers, not faith killers! In Matthew 5:45 Jesus actually says that the sun shines and the rain pours on the just and the unjust people! We are to expect pain! Pain and suffering are going to happen no matter what, simply because we live in a world that is cursed with sin. However – as a Christian – God actually uses my pain much like a farmer uses cow manure to cultivate growth and beauty and strength to the life He has given to us (Romans 8:28).
Yes, there is struggle. In April of this year, we had a miscarriage as well. When this unexpectedly hit us – it came with a tidal wave of questions. HARD questions. Questions we never knew we would have to ask about ourselves and about God. But the wrestling and asking God of hard questions were not to justify our doubt. They were, in fact, to plead with God to show us himself through our doubt. They are what should cause you to CLING to Jesus, ask of Jesus, RUN to Jesus, and wait for Him to lead you through the sorrow as you are in your weakest point. It is there that proves what you really believe. The fire of life will cause you to run in desperate need of your God or – as we see too often – you will give up.
Alex and I have wrestled and asked ALL the hard questions. But our wrestling is in the pursuit of gaining Christ. Because when you find THE rock of your salvation – there is no going back. There are no other securities that can hold you together. This is why we can stand in faith. It is because our goal is not our perfect, happy, little family. Our goal is that the preciousness of Jesus would EXUDE from our simple life. He is worth it. He is worth your life too. Though it would mean giving everything up – the trade is outmeasured. What you find as a treasure above Him right now is like trash compared to knowing and gaining Jesus (Philippians 3).
Our wrestling will make us further ready to see His face. That is where we are going. Do not give up fellow believer – do not let go. Jesus is our goal. Wrestle this life of pain with hope and eyes fixed. He is perfect beauty.