Monday, July 21, 2008

From Serpants to Stallions

[I wrote this about two years ago when I was going through the roughest phase of my life thus far -- quite the spiritual, mental, and emotional battle for a while. This is one of the handful of things I wrote during that time that hold some truth, rather than pure emotional release.]

And you said i know that this will hurt,
But if i don't break your heart things will just get worse

This God thing gets more and more complicated all the time, sometimes everyday. Where once it seemed sufficient to feel joy in His presence and to be content with my life, now the notion begins to creep into my mind that the Lord of Abraham is not all about brownies and hugs. I "knew" that, we all "know" that, but it seems most of us have this concept that when hard times come, God's role is to shoo them away, to make them not so, to blink them out of existence because He is the God of all Goodness and Love. His job is to carry us through to the good times again.

A few months ago I would have said "Well... yeah, of course", but now I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't a flaw in the attitude, the thinking that that's based on. I don't doubt for a moment that God's ultimate plan for us is to be "happy" (although that's an incredibly insufficient word for the kind of freedom and joy we're promised), to be with Him in Heaven and just celestial choir our brains out. While on Earth, however, it seems everyone wants "happy" now. Which is fine, and most of us get it. The general attitude towards suffering seems to be "God will lead me through this, and after it I will be better for Him". The object is to get it over with and go on being "happy", and I'd say for 98% of our lives, that's more or less accurate.

Maybe, though, sometimes God is not in the process, He's not there getting you "over it". Perhaps once in a long while, He isn't the least bit interested in making us feel better. None of that "footprints in the sand" sentimentality; instead, God is in the suffering itself. It may be that in the time we think we most need rescue, when we feel our darkest hour yet is bearing down on us and we are most willing to be plucked from harm, that He instead stands by and says, "No. I'm not getting you out of this one. You're going to sit right there and it's going to hurt like hell, because this is what you need right now."

It's like spiritual chemo: the chemo itself yields the results, not the process of surviving it. It's excruciating and the side effects make you wonder if it's worth it at all, but somewhere in you, a cancer is slowly dying. And God never abandons us, even when we're so hurt that in prayer, we can only ponder our anger. He throws at us the raging storm or the blazing fire and makes no efforts to defend us from the pain -- but He's there. "You will fall apart," He promises, "but I will not let you fall away, and in this sorrow, you will be better."


Joe said...


You have no idea how Grace-filled the timing of your post was! It was just the message I needed to hear!

God is always so busy!



Lindsay said...

Andie, you make me impatient for the day when I can "celestial choir my brains out." This was a really insightful reflection. No one really likes to suffer, but it does help to know that sometimes God lets you suffer because it's good for you. I had a similar problem with spinach, actually....

Mama said...

Ahhh...that's my Andie!

We MISS you too much. Come home now...oh yeah, we're homeless...

Can't wait to see you!

Love you!

Joe said...

I read you post again, and actually even mentioned it last night at RCIA.

I think you did a masterful job at breaking open that wonderous thing we call the Paschal Mystery!!

Many thanks!