By: Jana Greene
At the end of the day, bad things are going to happen and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. That’s the truth.
If Jesus wasn’t spared suffering, we aren’t getting out of it either. I’m not here to feed you a line about everything happening for a reason, and God opening a window when you could really use an actual open DOOR, etc. etc.
A lot of bad things happen this side of the Kingdom that I don’t understand.
Nothing irks me more than Christians who talk of God as if he easily figured out. As if he is Russian gymnast coach, watching your every stance to make sure you stay perfectly aligned on the balance beam, or a lottery god who increases the odds of your winning the jackpot if you buy more prayer tickets.
Stop glossing over the sovereignty of the Almighty God in order to try to understand why the world isn’t a fair place. Of what use is a god your mind can figure out?
It would be much simpler if he were that god, easier to understand. I can grasp the concept of statistics and unattainable perfection. Those are human ideals. The odds are not in our favor.
But God is. In our favor, I mean. No matter what the extenuating circumstances dictate.
God Jehovah, grant me serenity!
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
I struggle at times. I have a void, maybe you do, too. I was born with mine, like a birth defect – a life defect. A character defect, as they say in The Rooms. The void is a greedy and cavernous hole. Sometimes it is lined with depression or anxiety, sometimes frustrations and disappointments. I have, at various times, tried to pour alcohol in the hole, over eating, self-pity, various forms of people-pleasing … you name it. It eats the lining away for about five minutes (or until I finish the 12th brownie) and then just ends up being a bigger hole.
God heals it up every time. He tells me it isn’t a defect. He tells me the scar is beautiful. But sometimes I pick at it until it bleeds again.
I worry too much for the past, try to figure out the future, and totally forget to live TODAY in the meanwhile.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
I want the world around me to be a calm place, steeped in a lavender vibe, full of shalom.
I want to fall asleep easily at the end of each day, to feel the sweet cream of drowsiness anoint my spastic mind and soak into my every fiber until I can really finally, you know, rest.
I want people to be excellent to each other. And if not excellent, just shoot for not being a total jerk, for crying out loud.
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
I want the void filled. I have faith in the sense that I know God is not a merciless taskmaster and that all things will work to the good of those who love him. But I still get frustrated with the status quo.
And I just wish more people loved him. Oh that they KNEW him, they couldn’t help but adore him.
I think maybe the void is supposed to be there. Like perhaps always having it with me keeps me desperate for Christ in a way that facilitates my very intimate relationship with him. If so, it is a defect I am glad to carry.
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Not as I would have it. Not as I would have it. Not all lavender sweet cream and shalom. Not when the GOP and the Democrats align views and sing Kumbaya together. Not when people stop cutting me off in traffic. Not when I lose 20 pounds, become a legit writer, balance perfectly on the beam. Or win the lottery.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;
I surrender all. God grant me the serenity – not the complacency – to surrender all.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely
happy with Him forever in the next.
Bad things will happen and this world is a mess. We don’t have to understand why it isn’t a fair place, we just have to carry a message of love to the broken world.
Maybe we should agree with the world that YES, terrible things that make no sense happen and there is no denying it. But there is a Force of Life called Divine Love, and in the end, LOVE always wins. That’s all I know.
But that’s a tall order. It’s a really hurting world.
God, grant me the serenity. At the end of the day, help me to trust your sovereignty in this world…this messed-up world that you SO loved that you sent your only begotten son. Take the space in my void and fill it with Holy Spirit so that some of that sweet insatiable unconditional love spills out of me and into the world. And keep pouring.
(The Serenity Prayer)