God wants us to suffer. Yes, it's in the Bible. I say this to grab the attention of those out there wondering why they should be a practicing Christian if this is in the Bible, but just follow my lead here... Romans 5:3-4 says we must "also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Well, I sure would like to lead a life where this verse just isn't true. Can't I pick and choose which verses I follow? I picked and chose which paragraphs to memorize in my college textbooks. Oh, but what about those chapters you didn't read? Did you get those answers right on the test? Did it help you remember in the next lesson to read every line so you were stronger when it came to knowing the passage? There are days full of sunshine when our lives just cannot seem to get any brighter. There are also days full of clouds when we are not sure the rain will ever stop.
I had an epiphany that led me to see a part of me. I have always tried to control my own life. God has always tried to let me realize He is in control. My life for 12 years was all about basketball. I would practice for hours in my backyard. Yes, I did many other things in school and was involved in everything imaginable, but my true love was basketball. My freshman year of high school I tore my ACL at the end of the year. I remember telling my mother I didn't want to talk about it or be asked about it; I just wanted to deal with it and move on. I feverishly worked that summer in rehab. I worked so hard that I was back in October ready to play. I was never the same again in speed, but I hit my goal. Then my senior year in high school the third game of the year I tore it again... (Maybe God was telling me I should wear my brace that He made my parents pay thousands of dollars for!)... Anyway, I was so angry and thought life was over. I didn't want to go through it again. I just wanted to fast forward. So instead of wallowing in my own self pity I decided to get involved with theater. Everyone did it and I never could because of the season. At the end of the year I had gained one of the best experiences in my life through theater. I could have played that year and not played much because my coach wanted to build a team of freshman... another story... and been miserable all year... but, I moved on. I think that is what life is about...
Not to my point yet, but hang around and I'll explain... I realized I have always gone for what I want. Sometimes God cut it short and it angered me, but I kept moving. I always said I wanted to work at Joe's Crab Shack. So in college I landed a job there. I didn't really enjoy it, but I did what I said I was going to do! I wanted to be a news reporter so I found myself driving all around Texas handing out my video resume. Showing up at the office! God told me I had to do it. I landed my positions in Abilene and Tyler at the news stations because I had driven there and shown up for an unscheduled interview. I decided to leave the profession of news to pursue a more "normal" lifestyle so I moved to Dallas just knowing somehow I'd figure it all out. I could even equate this in small parts of life. The other day I wanted some Chinese food. What did I do? Oh... drive and search for a restaurant... and enjoyed every ounce. Then I wanted a snow cone. I never see snow cone stands. I got on my computer and found me a snow cone stand and went for it! I realize God is in control and I often try to take control thinking He isn't doing a good enough job. I used to tell Nick that God wasn't a genie. We cannot try to figure out his next step either. I don't like to wait and I don't enjoy feeling as if God is ignoring me at times. But, He said I would suffer for hope. Yes, all of that suffering in the Bible verse leads to hope. I get very upset at times when I reflect on these things and say, "God, why would you want me to suffer any more? You took my Mom when I was nineteen; Is that not good enough for you?" I cannot hear His audible answer, but I know deep down there are reasons I do not understand. If she was here life could not unfold in the way it has... I could rehash everything that has come on this journey after her death, but we know there was good taken from it and we have a new family. I realized the other day after thinking of Grandmommy's death at the end of March... I spoke with her all of the time and I desperately miss our talks; BUT, as you realize this summer has been HOT. 18 days of over 100 degrees! She hated the heat. She would say she was miserable and it made her ill. Do you realize God took her RIGHT BEFORE the heat began to rise? Do you realize God let Mom raise me 18 years and be off at college before he took her? Now I can say that in one breathe, but in the next breath wonder why God didn't think I needed her now at 29 years old when everyone is best friends with their parents? Am I just so full of wisdom that I didn't need that? Only God knows the answer.
In the sermon the preacher talked about listening to a child pray. When I listen to my five year old niece pray she thanks God for everyone at the table, the food, the house, the dog... on and on. Why can't our hearts be that pure? We sit in despair worrying about all of the clouds. We forget about the sunshine behind those clouds. Are we not surrounded by loved ones? Are we not eating a nice meal?
I'm talking to myself in a sense through these verses. When the clouds hit I am a strong young lady. After everything I have been through I never stopped moving. I must say my faith and my support system are the only things that get me through the tough stuff. Though I am tough at times I fall flat on my face in my faith. I am angry and I want a fix. I want out of this pain and I want it right now. I want God to tell me what He wants me to learn and LET ME OUT. I say this on my end, but what if on the other end God is saying, "I'm giving you perseverance, character and hope so just hold your horses."