Tuesday, December 9, 2014

life ain't easy

If you're rich, poor, pretty, ugly, fat, skinny, surrounded by people who love you or lonely as can be,
life is hard.
We've all got these hearts that know what hurt feels like. Whether we've lived pampered lives or begged on the streets, our hearts have known (and are knowing) hurt. Hunger, death, infertility, cancer, rejection, insecurity, paralysis, confusion, depression, divorce, poverty-- 
there's so much terrible coming against us and the terrible never seems to take a break. 

Living life is quite a challenge.

In 2012, there were 40,600 Americans who committed suicide. 
That's a suicide every 12.9 minutes. And the U.S. is #35 on the list of countries with the highest suicide rates.*

So what do we do? 
Shut the lights off, curl up in our beds, and cry for the next few decades until our bodies run out of battery and die?
(which they will certainly do)
No. That doesn't seem like a good idea. 
The One who set it all up, this life, knew it wasn't going to be easy for us after we invited darkness into the picture 
(Gen. 3:6). And He knew we would have trouble getting through all of our days, due to all of the miscarriages and AIDS and hurt feelings and car wrecks and bankruptcy and addiction and pain. And He knew we would spend our days with this sense that we were created for some other place. And He knew that no matter how hard we tried, we would never get fully satisfied down here on His globe. And He knew this globe, apart from Him and His sweet walking-with-man ways, is not what we were created for (Gen. 3:8, 1 Peter 2:11). 

So He gave us a Hope. 
The Hope came in the form of a Man that contained all of God in a flesh and blood body. The Man told us that we will be away from Him for awhile, but we get to live with Him in Spirit. The Man told us about what we get to hope for in the future. The Man told us that someday we would not just be with Him in Spirit, but we would be with Him face-to-face, finding the deep-down longing in our hearts met by His Being. The Man told us that someday, He would make every wrong right. 

And now here we are, apart from His person, but with the opportunity to be joined to His Spirit, with the thrilling Hope that when our batteries run dead, we will find ourselves, alas, in front of the all-satisfying Being we were created to behold. 

Now when the terrible keeps coming, 
I can face it. 
Not because I'm super strong, 
but because Hope in the form of a Man is super strong, 
and super generous with all of His strength. 
I don't have to just barely get by, dodging the terrible as it flies at me, but I can thrive, because I'm joined up with Hope Himself. 

Life isn't getting easier. I think, in fact, it's getting harder.  But Jesus is still cheering me on. He's at the finish line and I'm so excited to cross it. 

Next time someone hurts your feelings or you lose someone you love or your body screams, "I'm running out of battery!," lift your head up. Heaven is longing for you, and whether you recognize it or not, you're longing for Heaven. Jesus is the way to get there. Ask Him for help and obey what He says in the Bible. 

Life ain't easy, 
but He's good. 
And Heaven awaits. 

"Unhappiness on earth cultivates a hunger for heaven. By gracing us with a deep dissatisfaction, God holds our attention. The only tragedy, then, is to be satisfied prematurely. To settle for earth. To be content in a strange land.

We are not happy here because we are not at home here. We are not happy here because we are not supposed to be happy here. We are 'like foreigners and strangers in this world.'" (1 Peter 2:11).

-Max Lucado

p.s. Here is a worth watching 27-minute video of my sister teaching about what to do when life is hard. 

*suicide statistics: https://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures