For the vast majority of my life, I’ve lived in fear of suffering. I’ve always known suffering was inevitable because we live in a broken world. I just dreaded the time when it would be “my turn.” I was so afraid of the pain. I often thought, “what is God going to do to me? What is he going to put me through? Who close to me will die, get cancer, or hurt me?” I dreaded the season of my life when I would hurt and weep and feel like I just can’t handle life anymore.
Well, that season is here.
Those of you who kept up with this blog know about my time in Newark. Although there were so many great and wonderful things about being in Newark, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to walk through. I felt like God had just thrown me into an arena, sending me all of these trials, and He was just watching off at a distance – never stepping in or intervening.
After getting back from Newark and having to process everything I experienced, I found out that I was lied to in a very sick and broken way. I was controlled, used, and manipulated during my time in Newark. I trusted someone, and they betrayed me. The wounds from that dug so deep into the very depths of my heart. I can’t even quantify it. I was hurt and angry, more than I have ever been in my life. I cried. I wept. I shook my fist at God and said “YOU ALLOWED THIS, CAN YOU REALLY BE GOOD?”
As I walked through this valley of betrayal, hurt and complete brokeness, God gave me grace to see that He had been with me in Newark – fighting for me, protecting me, and pursuing me with His relentless love. It still sucked. It was still a reflection of the fall and a result of sin. But I see now, coming out on the other side of the valley, that His love for me is real. I can trust Him.
Three weeks ago I realized that I was no longer afraid of the suffering that I would have to endure in this life. I no longer live in fear of what God is going to “throw at me” or “call me to do.” Because if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that there is something so sweet about suffering. There is something so sweet about being at the end of my rope. There is something so sweet about feeling like I can’t handle life any more. In those moments, the only thing my heart can hold onto is Christ. And that is a very sweet place to be.
After living through those times of struggle and sadness and betrayal and dispair, I can finally look back and say it was worth it – because after walking through this fire, Christ, in all of His Glory, has never been more real to me.
Last Sunday a new season of suffering began. A very close family friend, and my boyfriends father, suddenly and tragically passed away. I know that the next months and years will be incredibly difficult as I walk through this season with Spencer and in my own heart. But I’m not afraid of what it will be like. God brought me through Newark, he can bring me through this. I see a long, dark, tunnel ahead of me, but this time I know that Christ is guiding me and leading me step-by-step. It will be hard. It will be ugly at times. There will be moments of joy and moments of intense sadness. God isn’t going to “fix it,” but he is going to redeem it.
My heart echo’s David’s words, and I’m resting on this promise: “I remain confident of this: surely I will see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living. Wait on the Lord; be strong and take heart, wait on the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14