Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Blessed be the Name of the Lord

I'm tired of the shoulds and oughts.

The idea that it is my faith or my attitude that will determine my success. Job was a man of great faith, and he had everything ripped from him. Through it all his mantra: The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed by the Name of the Lord. It was his lying and deluded friends who were convinced that somehow Job had sinned and therefore had "the blessing removed from his life."

It is not my lack of faith that is causing my daughter's mental illness. Jesus taught us to pray "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." So, how is praying this prayer a lack of faith? If He wills it, He will heal her.

It is not my lack of faith or my bad attitude that causes my fibromyalgia, either. I'm not going to sit around and wish for something that God is clearly saying "no" to. I refuse to live my life waiting for God to perform like a marionette puppet to my desires based upon my supposed "faith".

I do not believe that I can manipulate God by my "faith" or that I can tell Him what to do. And I also do not believe that suffering is a lack of faith.

I barely suffer. I know this. And yes, sometimes I'm a baby about it. But even barely suffering is very very very unpopular in this country/society/culture. Everyone wants to run away from suffering, or blame the person who has something going wrong. Because mentally pointing blame is good insurance: as long as its their fault, it won't happen to me because I won't let it.

But the whole point of this rant: There is a Kingdom that is not this kingdom! There is a world that is not this world! Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted...

This is quite a different message from "Have a positive attitude, and everything will go your way." or "Your faith is what makes you whole, don't even speak the negative." In such a case, one has faith in faith, and not faith in God.

Faith in God, on the other hand, allows room for the negative, because of the hope of the eternal Kingdom. He is the positive, He is the hope, He is the good. It is God we long for, and hope in...and not for personal gain or for an end to suffering, but rather for Himself.

I'm here to tell you, it's hard to be so very sunshiny at the end of a day when you HURT all over and cannot move from fatigue. It's hard to be sunshiny and "happy" when your child is mentally out of it. And it's really hard to be beaten up against the rocks of the American idea that somehow, when you suffer, it is all your fault and decide to turn things around and be all "happy". I don't think God calls us to "happy". He calls us to love.

Personally, I'd rather say with Job: Blessed be the name of the Lord. And I'd rather hear the words of Jesus Christ, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted", than false platitudes or accusations about this temporal life.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I am dealing right now with *significant* life challenges, losses, and problems that do not and never will have a solution. It is really becoming a pet peeve of mine to hear Christians talking about how fun and fulfilling God's plans are for them, or how if you only have faith, everything will work out for the best. No it does not! We live in a fallen creation, which means no matter how much faith we have, no matter how perfect we are, things are still going to suck, and we are still going to be pushed to the ends of our endurance and beyond. A mature and properly formed Christian faith acknowledges this and does not look for the "gee whiz isn't it great that God had this planned for us all the time?" God's plan is not intended for our pleasure or comfort.

And yes, you are suffering significantly. Never think that you are not.

wonderfulreflections said...

I have chronic migraines, and I can relate to a good bit of what you've written here. Thank you for sharing this-- I would do well to remember these things more often.

"I don't think God calls us to 'happy'. He calls us to love."
Nicely put.

I'll be praying for you.

maggie1 said...

Alana, I have just started a blog. Well better late than never. What a great way to vent alittle and keep things in perspective. I am also Orthodox and we have a mutual friend, who strongly suggested that i read your blog. So here I am, and what a blessing yesterdays blog was for me. I have had 4 back surgeries and will be having a SCS implant put in so..well as soon as I'm done arguing with Worker's Comp. Pain is just my life and has been for a long time. I get up in the morning, have a plan to do xxx have My Morning Coffee and that's usually the end of the plan..I will be reading with great interest. Stop and smell the roses!

elizabeth said...

i hear you. i have various struggles in my life too, life is often hard.

i believe you and your family are greatly loved; i know i find myself thinking of you and your family on a fairly regular basis, even if i am not commenting on your blog all the time.

Lord have mercy.

Liz in Seattle said...

I watched my Godmother go through the death of a second son, to cancer. Happy? Heavens, no. Full of the joy of Christ? Always. I learned a lot watching her.

Joy cometh in the morning...sometimes I have to remind myself every day. Hang in there.