I am not a Barbie Doll Christian. In other words, I
am not a “plastic” (as someone I know describes it) fake-it-till-you-make-it
kind of Christian. I am an emotional, passionate, upside down, sometimes
backwards, insanely intense Christian woman. Yet, my deepest desire is to
reflect my Savior.
You might be wondering what this has to do with this
week’s Verse-by-Verse Reflection link-up. Actually, it has everything to do with it. For
the past two weeks, I have diligently sought God to lead me through a
wow-you-kind of analysis on Paul’s appeal to the Thessalonians:
Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give
thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (HCSB
1 Thess. 5:16-18)
Instead of a getting, a Holy Spirit inspired, poignant
and thought provoking summary—I had a meltdown. Because of this, I
was tempted not to write a post
regarding this passage. After all, my meltdown was in stark contrast to Paul’s
exhortation. In fact, I felt embarrassed, somewhat humiliated, foolish, and as
I so publicly announced on FB “at the end of my rope.”
Interestingly, one reason Paul wrote to the
Thessalonians was to encourage them during a time of immense persecution and
suffering. Paul did not offer the Thessalonians empty words, he wrote from
experience. In 2 Corinthians 4:8, Paul writes, “We are pressured in every way
but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not
abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed” (HCSB).
Truth is; the trials and circumstances I am dealing
with right now have me feeling the “pressure”; I am “perplexed,” confused,
bewildered, dumbfounded; I am “persecuted” and misunderstood, as well as
“struck down.” Truth is; these trials seem
to be never ending. In fact, my meltdown was due more to the longevity than
the trial itself. Truth is; it is really hard to believe God has a
purpose in the midst of ongoing hardship. BUT he does.
...we also rejoice in our affliction,
because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven
character, and proven character produces hope. (HCSB Rom. 5:3-4)
Instead of rejoicing and giving thanks, I felt like
Paul who felt so “completely overwhelmed—beyond [his] strength—so that [he]
even despaired of life” (HCSB
2 Cor. 1:8-9). To be honest, I am thankful Paul gives
us a glimpse into his own “meltdown.” Paul shows us his humanity.
Something happens when we “come to the end of our
rope.” Paul recognized it. I recognized it as I buried my face in my already
snotty tissue. We surrender.
Paul believed affliction leads us to surrender our
own strength, our own will, our own devices and scheming, and our dependence on
self, to a deep abiding “trust in God who raises the dead” (HCSB 2 Cor. 1:9).
This trust is an acknowledgement that our current circumstances are part of
“…God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (HCSB 1 Thess. 6:18).
God does not
send evil to accomplish His purpose in our lives, but He does not always remove
our affliction or suffering. Rather, our suffering forces us to look beyond the
circumstances and ourselves to God’s sovereignty over every facet of our life.
Suffering drives us into deeper prayer. Prayer changes our perspective; thereby,
freeing us to rejoice in all things.
You rejoice in this, though now for a short
time you have had to struggle in various trials so that you have the
genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though
refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of
Jesus Christ. (HCSB
Meltdown or not, cool, calm and
collected—or not, what really matters is a life surrendered to Christ Jesus. And
if you are like me, it’s ok to have a good cry—a meltdown, once in a while…it’s the purest, most honest
acknowledgement of our need for Christ. After all is said and done Just Turn the Page for “..His mercies never end. They are
new every morning” (HCSB Lam.
Labels: Barbie Doll Christian, Just Turn The Page, meltdown, My Thoughts On..., suffering, Verse by Verse Reflection