Monday, May 12, 2014

Get Real!

                My life has been utter chaos these past few weeks. If it isn’t one thing it is another. Ups and downs, lefts and rights, pulled in one direction then another. I haven’t had time to breathe let alone write! If someone were to ask me right now how I was doing, I would tell them “Frazzled!” I actually said this to a sister in the Lord on Sunday who asked me the same thing. I told her, “Frazzled! My life is utter chaos right
now! But my God is in control!” I think this took her by surprise, not many people would be that willing to share how crazy and chaotic their lives are. Instead, we put on a big smile and we pretend like all is right with the world. We put up this front that life is just a box of chocolates and they all taste divine. But, let’s be real. Seriously, can we just be real with one another?
                When I first became a Christian, there were times that I would leave church feeling defeated and a complete and utter failure. Everyone at church was always smiling, praising God, talking about how wonderful their lives were, while I was sitting there alone, with an unbelieving husband at home and a life in total disarray. My children and I were barely on time for church, always struggling to get out the door, fighting with one another all the way into the church parking lot. The last thing I wanted to hear was how perfect everyone’s life was. Because, if we are honest with ourselves and with one another- life sucks, but our God is awesome!
                The Christian life is hard. It is not a field of flowers, with rainbows and unicorns. It is a daily battle, an uphill climb; an endless treadmill that sometimes seems like it’s going nowhere. One day, during a women’s study I attended as a young believer, one of the ladies said that when someone asks her how she is doing, no matter what she is going through, she always replies with positive comments. She never lets others see what trials and struggles she is going through. As I listened to her, I realized that is exactly the opposite of what God wants us to do. He wants us to be real. So, can we, just for a moment, be real with one another? If no one ever sees our struggles, how will they ever see our God?
                “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now, if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-6           

  Paul clearly states that the tribulations, trials, and sufferings that we face each and every day are to be seen. How can someone see our God if we never let them see what is happening in our lives? The trials and tribulations that I face, the challenges that He has placed in my path, are so that He can show forth His power, His grace, His mercy, and His strength through me. Yes, my life is utter chaos right now, and it doesn’t seem to have an end. But, I know and I pray that through me others will see the peace of God as He works it all out on my behalf. He is with me every step of the way, and that is what people need to see. Not my struggles only, but my God who is getting me through them every minute of every day.
                What if Christ never showed us His struggles or His sufferings? Would we believe in Him? Unless people see us and everything that is going on in our lives, they will not be able to see our God. If they do not see us hurting, then how will they see His healing? If they do not see our fears, then how will they see His comforts? If they do not see our weaknesses, then how will they see His strengths? If they do not see our failures, then how will they see His grace?
                Paul states that everything he and the others have gone through is for our comforts. The sufferings, the trials, the struggles of daily Christian living are so that others may see the goodness and the grace of our God being lived out in each one of us. We need to be real with people. I struggled when I first became a Christian because I did not see this comfort that Paul refers to. All I ever saw was happily married people, always smiling, and who never seemed to go through anything like I was experiencing. It was not until I opened up that they began to open up. It was not until I got real with myself and admitted that I was not perfect that others were able to open up to me. We cannot show forth our God to the world around us if all they ever see are perfect Christians doing the perfect Christian things. People need to see Jesus working in me and through me, and the only way to accomplish this is by being real with one another.
               This Christian life is hard. It is a constant battle, a daily struggle to make it to the next step that He has prepared for us. It is a life of chaos, trials and tribulations. People need to see our faith in action. When we are real with one another, people see our struggles, our disappointments, and our failures but then they also see our God! If all I ever show to the world around me is a life of rainbows and unicorns, then they will never see my God. I would rather they see my struggles and my weaknesses then to see a picture perfect me that does not exist. I want people to see my God, the One who gets me through it all.
                Let’s just be real with each other, please? Let’s show people that this Christian life is not always easy, but we have a God who is all powerful, all knowing, all seeing and He has taken the burden from us and we do not walk it alone. Let us show forth the love of God through Jesus Christ. Let others see our defenses down, because in the end, if we don’t- they will never see our God.

                It is my prayer today that we would let go of the pride that stops us from bearing our souls before one another, and just be real with one another. I pray that we would become a real people; a people that is willing to show our weaknesses so that others can see our God. To Jesus Christ alone be glory forever and ever, amen and amen.