i was reading this morning and came across a line that said, (read as if God was speaking directly to you) "Thank Me for troublesome situations; the Peace they can produce far outweighs the trials you endure." i started thinking about how terrible 2011 was, and i imagined reading that sentence and wanting to know what it would mean to me if i didn't know God. how confusing it would be or how meaningless.
it's one thing to build up strength from a situation and say, "Well, if i can make it through that, I can survive anything." but it is another to find Peace in it. strength and peace don't always go together. in fact, my strength fails me quite a lot.
the Peace that God offers us is engulfed in the understanding of how to live above your circumstances. to be frank with you, it's learning how to let go and embrace the truth that your ultimate purpose of being on Earth is not for your own happiness, but for God's. (though i am fully aware that God loves for us to be happy). this gospel liberates. and i know that many Christians in the past have abused the Gospel and have misunderstood it. Westboro Baptist church comes to mind immediately. but the freedom in this whole story is that God loves us enough to give us a choice to love Him back. and that means we can choose not to love Him and we can choose to do things while on earth that are quite horrific and bring sorrow to God's heart.
i know this blog post might ruffle some feathers, but to be flat honest, i'm really tired of Christians treating God like he's a genie in a lamp. if i sit here and profess to be a Christian running round with Jeremiah 29:11 on my lips and yet cannot embrace that same Promise when my father dies in front of my face and i am utterly betrayed by the man i thought i was to marry, then i am a hypocrite and something is radically wrong with my understanding of who God is.
if anything from the trials i have to endure, i want to learn how to love other people well because that's what Jesus commands us to do, friends. not to judge. not to ostracize. not to be double-minded and weary in our beliefs, but to love and to love unconditionally. when i let go of always needing to be the happiest person in the room, i am free to enjoy other people's happiness and value the bigger picture. i begin to live above my circumstances and cherish more and more the grace that God turned His face that fateful hour, so Love could win.