My friend and co-worker said to me today, “Isn’t it strange that someone so involved in the church has so many difficulties in their life?”
She was talking about me. I had just finished a tirade about the abuses of one of my family members against the rest of their family. I was tired and stressed, and I uncharacteristically “blew a gasket.” I apologized for the outburst, but I could see the thoughts about it all written on her face. To my friend’s way of thinking, it just seems odd that I, who have been a Christian for so many years and have devoted my life to serving Christ, should have so much difficulty in my life.
Several years ago Billy Graham’s daughter, Ruth, wrote a book titled In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart. As I read her book, I personally identified with her sentiment. It also caused me to look around at the people in the pews in my own church. Yep, there’s that sweet little 90-something couple who have been married since they were 16 years old. They are still sweethearts after all these years. Because of the cancer eating away at her body, she probably has less than a year to live. In that row sits a mother who lost her young adult daughter a couple years ago and is now raising her grandchild. The teenagers in that pew—wow, the daily difficulties they face in their home lives and other relationships. The list goes on, pew after pew. And still they show up, week after week, worshipping God and finding what they need from their relationship with Him and their fellowship with other believers.
How do we who are “so involved with the church” continue to function, considering the difficulties we face in our lives? For me, the answer is my relationship with God. When I accepted Christ as my Savior at the age of 18, I never once looked back. I’ve never regretted that decision, and I’ve found the strength I need in that relationship for every challenge I have faced over these many years. The life I live is most certainly not the life I requested. However, the God I serve is everything He ever promised He would be.
When my natural inclination is to stay in bed curled up in a fetal ball and give in to depression, the Lord stays near and gently whispers His love into my spirit. When the only place that seems acceptable to me is lying on the floor for lack of personal strength, the Lord sits beside me and strokes my head until I am able to gather the strength He gives and pick myself up. God did not guarantee me that I would never have problems. He just vowed to never leave me, and He never has.
T.D. Jakes calls it “living through the dying places.” I believe that says it very well.