Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's Pain Got To Do With Thriving Christian Life?

"Writing isn't difficult; I just hang over the keyboard and wait for a drop of blood," lamented a writer. I read that years ago and identified with him in my struggle to communicate in written language. This week I got real and felt that I opened a vein and bled my real me.

Some of you could identify with my difficult birth home. But for some of you this was tough reading. Sometimes I sense that we love our comfort... getting our way....seeing our dreams come true....being happy.....having an easy life; more than anything else. If God loves us, with all of His power surely He will see to it I don't hurt because I've given up all my sinful aspirations to live for Him....won't He?

Whenever I speak to a group I have had some come to me and urge me to speak of an easier life. I am finding His strength that meets all demands is preferable to looking for "easy" and convenient. I believe God expects total forgiveness of others, honorable submission to His authority and to those He has placed in authority over us; and He is our number one priority over all else. Oh, I've made peace with being considered fanatical. I can handle hearing Him say in in Heaven, "Kay, it didn't take all that. You went a little overboard in witnessing, focusing on Me." But I shudder to think I could hear, "If only you had....."

I believe that our loving God will guide us on our best journey that may well have pain, betrayers, disappointments, etc., as well as delights, joy and wonderful friends and encouragers all along the path. I hate physical and emotional pain more than anyone I know. In fact, I'm convinced I came to Jesus in full surrender because the pain of living "my way" was intolerably painful to me.

"Be Happy," and may my children always and forever "Be Happy" is just not Christian Bible based wisdom. The possibilities of our new economy make this an ideal time to discusss pain and where it fits in Christian thriving life. Painless utopia probably isn't His Will for our best. That would be a human kind wish, but a loving all wise Father God hopes for more for His children.

Years ago my older cousin, Charlotte, and I discussed the moral decay of America. I lamented that my generation would go down in history as the worst parents in America. She argued, "No, my generation will be held responsible; because we began the decline. Up until my generation began embracing Dr. Spock's philosphy of keep your children happy at all costs, American parents instilled discipline and responsibility into their children. They were diligent in istructing children to see to duties, betterment of community, etc. and then they could play and have fun. When happiness is the main focus; irresponsibility and narcissism develops." That discussion occured over a decade ago; and I still think she won the argument. I'm in my sixties and she would be in her eighties if she were alive.

Charlotte is one of my heroes. She reared a large family on a working farm in the NE GA mountains. She had a college degree but dedicated herself to home management par excellence. She was well read and most intelligent and a strong Christian. She knew pain up close and personal: her only son died in a car crash due to speeding; one daughter was a registered nurse and married a driven entrepreneur and overdosed because she couldn't take the pressure(but they rushed her to the hospital; she lives with a damaged brain; husband abandoned her; Charlotte and family have had to care for her). Charlotte was diagnosed with stomach cancer years ago. The doctor laid out the plan of treatment and Charlotte asked pointed questions about the quality of life she could expect. "Oh no, I will not put my family through that ordeal. If you do nothing how long do I have to live?" she asked. When the doctor told her six weeks she responded, "Oh, that's all the time I need. I only have a few things to attend to." She loved children and she began a fund in those weeks for a playground on the grounds of her tiny church. Every time I go to that church I smile looking at the magnificient playground that speaks: Children Matter Here. "Way to go, Charlotte!"

Next week we will dig into pain and how our loving God trusts us with a measure of suffering. May we think on the difference in soulish kindness and true love as God loves?

Thanks for reading here. I never get over the privilege to read, hear and learn from others. But the awesome privilege that I can write and speak and someone will read and hear my thoughts is always humbling to me.


Please work in Your people throughout the world in these fast changing times. Tune our hearing to Your frequency. If we ever thought we could make it on our own, we know now that we can't. Guide us, change us, reveal Your best to us. If we whine when we don't get our way, be merciful and help us through to seeing things Your way. Forever we will praise and thank You for saving us eternally. AMEN


Dorothy Champagne said...

God will never say to you- "It didn't take all that" - He will say to YOU - "Well done, good and faithful servant" - Just like He did with Charlotte. Thanks for introducing us to her. :)

Anonymous said...

The prayer at the end says it all.."Guide us, change us, reveal your best to us".

Thank you again for being so REAL!!!

Much love -

Chatty Kelly said...

I look forward to reading. I think of Job - God said "Have you considered my servant Job" and then the suffering Job went through. His name on God's lips.

My childhood - my name on God's lips.

Looking forward to hearing more.

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.