There are times that I want to ball myself up into a corner. One part of me wants to bite, fight, and kick anyone who comes close to me. The other part of me wants to be hugged by a friend I can trust in order to release all of the anguish, fear, and pain. Do I remain strong, or am I really strong? Do I show that I am weak by releasing?
Paul says to be content in whatever state we’re in. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:11-12)
For me, to remain content means that I am happy. It would be a lie to say that I am happy in the state I am in right now. The storms of life do not give me pleasure even when I know that they may be the will of God to strengthen me. Do you want to know the truth – the real truth? I am not happy in the state that I am right now.
I wonder where or when does faith apply in all of this? When do I get to the place in my life – in my family’s life – of where I think we should be and where I can be content and feel safe? Did you not hear me? I said, where I think we should be. Is God’s will in that sentence somewhere? I do not know and right now, I do not care about this faith thing. I want what I want and feel that I need it all. Do you feel like that sometimes, too? I know that I am going through a storm. I know it seems really bad right now. I know.
Is it not in these times that we are to seek out the will of God in our lives – whatever that means – the will that is? Is it not in the times of those storms, we are to question our existence – our purpose? Do we really know God’s will for our lives is to be enlightened- to reach another level in our human development? You know the “if it does not kill you but make you stronger thing.” (Laugh)
I have taught others that God’s divine will is what we should always seek. According to Psalms 37:23,” The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and he delighted in his way.” God orders our steps. I keep wondering if God orders the steps that slide from left to right or down the wrong roads of life. Like when we are dancing to the Hustle? The twists and turns in life when we are dancing the Electric Slide? Oh Yes, God does – He keeps us no matter what – I think. How interesting. How interesting for those of us who slide from left to right and down the twists and curvy roads and the wrong paths. The roads are full of people we chose for our destiny. Is it not interesting that somehow we end up on the right path again? “Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” (Psalms 37:24).
Then what are life’s strengths and weaknesses? When are we really weak or strong? When do we fight, and when do we just cry and let loose all the anguish, fear, and pain?
After the storm is over or I can see some bright light, I feel ashamed when I think about the other families – the other people – the families and people who are going through circumstances that are worse than what I am going through right now. I feel ashamed for ever complaining about the wrongs done in my life and those that I love. Why do I feel ashamed now? Because I was blind by my own selfishness and I was not grateful for the Grace and Mercy of the love of God over my life. I could not see while I was sliding to the left, right, the twists, curvy roads, and wrong paths. The wide roads of people in my life that I chose to make my destiny.
I am the spiritual one – you know. Me – the one who prays and the one whom God has chosen to preach and teach His Word to the people. The me who plants or waters the “Word,” so God gets the increase – me. How can I be so weak and blind? Why did I not see God’s grace or mercy during the storm? What was it that blinded me that I could not see? I just could not see.
I can see now. It is sad though, because I did not realize how weak, blind, and selfish I was being until I witnessed other families and other people’s disasters that are more than I could ever imagine going through. It was at that time that the sun started to shine through the darkness of despair. It was only then that I was able to see. I was so selfish to think about my stuff during the storms. Did I actually think that I was humble during those storms? Was I really?
Were you humble during your storms?
Was I weak? Did I have a right to bite, fight, or kick anyone who came close to me? Were they coming to help pull me up – to rescue me or was it all God? Is this the reason for my anger – my hurt – my pain – who was I fighting – who or what was it really?
Through my confusion and all of the times when I thought, I was going to lose my mind. The times when my heart fainted and when I could not see being blind from the tears. I see God’s compassion now, but I did not see it when I thought it really counted. I witnessed it but I did not know it – not then. It was not just me either. I had noticed that while I was going through – while I was weak, others just wanted things from me. He or she wanted what he or she thought I owed them; he or she did not care what I was going through. He or she did not care that I had to quit my job to take care of a loved one. He or she did not care that I was at home recuperating from major surgery or that I am dealing with the Big C (Cancer). He or she just wanted.
You asked; “What did they want?”
I said, “Whatever they wanted – does it have to be something specific? They were not willing to see – not really see. They were all blind by what they thought they needed.”
You asked; “Were they hungry?”
I said, “NO!”
You asked; “Did they need medicine or a doctor?”
I said, “NO! “
You asked; “Did they need shelter or clothing?”
I said, “NO! “
You asked; “Did they need…?”
I said, “NO!” “NO!” and for the last time “NO!” They just wanted what they thought I owed them; my storm did not matter. There was no compassion from them – those people.
I wonder during the times of the storms – other people’s storms, did I treat them the same way. Did I just want what I thought was owed to me, too. Did I care about his or her storm?
My answer, “Yes I did.”
Your answer should be; “I did, too.”
For it was about me – my storm. I cannot. I will not suffer anymore – I shouted as I cried and while trying not to see the others – the others whose circumstances were worse than mine. Not the ones who just wanted what they wanted. No! I did not want to see the ones who were really hurting – the ones in real pain – the ones who could not stand or crawl for that matter. I hid from them. I just wanted to be alone and deal with my own stuff, so I could blame everything that I was going through on God. God controls everything, for whom can I blame if it is not God.
I could not hide. I was forced to see those other families – those other people whose circumstances are worse than mine. Stuff started to fall from my eyes. I knew that I washed my face when I awoke. What was this stuff falling from my eyes? What is this voice that I am hearing, and why must I follow the instructions? What is happening to me? What has awakened within me? It was then that I realized and I begin to see clearly. I realized and said, “I will not suffer by my own hands – my own thoughts anymore.”
Were my eyes open now? Entrapped with my own obsessions of fear of what is weak versus what is strong. I had to be strong in my own strength for my own compassion. I cannot allow anyone to see me weak – not me. All that I am and all that I have must be an illusion of my own strength and no one else. It was pride. How can I be prideful during a storm?
(Okay, I know you are confused by now and you are probably asking yourself “what in the hell is she talking about?” Keep reading.)
“But when did I suffer during the storm? When, while I was going through what I was going through and needing what I thought I needed?
I asked – you asked, “When did I not get what I wanted during the storm?”
I asked – you asked, “When did I not get what I needed during the storm?”
I asked – you asked, “What makes me so different that I thought I should not suffer without want – without need – without pain?”
Why did I have to become awakened by others worse circumstances? Why did I have to see their anguish? Why did I have to witness their pain – their ultimate suffering? No, it is not fair to witness someone else’s world. No, I said. I must be consumed by my own stuff – my own world. I cannot feel the Grace and Mercy of this God – this Savior. I cannot let Him save me! I cannot see Him.” I cannot feel Him during the storms for who else can I blame when I did not receive what I thought I wanted and needed. God have mercy on me for I have slid left to right down the twisty and curvy roads.
Have you ever thought about all of the things you or your love one went though after the storms, after the tears, and or just maybe the ultimate – death? Have you ever thought that you were selfish or being selfish during those times? Oh! I know it has not been just one storm. I know your storms have been several.
Could you see during those times? Me neither.
Do you know why you did not see? Me neither.
“Ooh, I know why we could not see!”
It was that darn Grace and Mercy Thing.
You ask, “Grace and Mercy Thing?”
I said, “You know what I mean.” The Grace and Mercy Thing that no one wants to confess that he or she knows about because he or she cannot see it, so it is easy to blame everything on it.
Okay. I know that you know about the Grace and Mercy Thing.
Come on now!
I said, “The Holy Ghost Grace and Mercy Thing?”
Oh! I do apologize. Maybe you know The Holy Ghost Grace and Mercy Thing when Jesus (Our Lord and Savior) said “I will never leave you comfortless:” “If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it see him not, neither know him: but you know him; for He dwell with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world see me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall live also. At that day you shall know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you.” (St. John 14:15-20)
Do you really want to know why we could not see during those storms when we were suffering, or when we wanted things and could not have them or when we needed things and no one would help us? What about those of us who thought our severe storms are the things the world said we should have? You know the things – the material things – the A B C letters behind your name things to say that you are smart and successful – the 6 figure salaries and the luxury cars and homes – all to be said that you and I are successful human beings if we have those things. Those things that are now what we want or have turned into needs – those things that if we do not have them, we will be failures for the world to stomp upon – even the church.
Do you really want to know why you or I did not see during those storms of “suffering?” Why we did not want to see our neighbor’s pain – their circumstances – their needs that are worse than ours? Do you think that the love for your neighbor stuff has to do with our blindness?
We must remain blind during our storms. We cannot admit that we are weak, for it would mean that we must deny our own suffering. We cannot help others in their pain – their suffering – for it would take away what strength we have to survive during the storms.
Sometimes it is not because we are in a storm that makes us weak; it is because we are full of pride and in our own foolishness. The foolishness of wanting material and other things to meet someone’s criteria of what it is to be in his or her world and not what God said we should be in Him. Sometimes, it is when we are consumed with selfishness of our own pain that we cannot see that we will gain strength, if we were to help our neighbors who are going through worse circumstances. One of the sacrifices (and not allowing abuse) of love, means having to deny your circumstances in order to help someone else.
What makes the Holy Ghost our comforter, in my opinion, is when we realize that we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us(Philippians 4:11-13) because it is God’s strength that has been made perfect during our weakness (2nd Corinthians 12:9) by the storms of life. It is God’s love and sharing God’s love with others who are in worse circumstances that will give us strength to overcome our own storms.
It is the Spirit within you and not you – not your flesh – not your mind. It is your Spirit.
You see, the storms should humble you so your Spirit man can develop. God connects through the Spirit man within you. One of the strengths of the Spirit man is God’s love; it is that love that overcomes the world’s evil.
The storms are planned as “boot camps” to develop your Spirit self which includes the love of God, so you can make an impact in the world – to make a positive difference as salt of the earth – to give seasoning – flavor (St. Matthews 5:13-14). I do not care if you will be in a prison cell all the years of your life. You are to make a positive difference even when you are going through a storm. In fact, all the storms of your life are to be celebrated once you have overcome them, but you cannot overcome the storms through pride, selfishness, or blindness. You must allow the Holy Spirit – The Comforter – The Grace and Mercy of God to strengthen you in the areas of your Spiritual man that God can directly connect with you and that is only through His salvation – our Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ. God’s love for us is reflected through us and by us when we love others especially when there is a need or want to be met.
It is God’s Grace and Mercy through the Holy Spirit – the Comforter that protects us even when we think we are not being protected. However, if you allow your pride – your wants – your greed to stop or hinder your love walk with your neighbor, stranger, or family member, you are no longer just weak, you are not allowing God to develop your Spirit. Therefore, God cannot and will not connect with you.
It is not until you sincerely humble yourself that you will find the will of God for your life. Just remember it is not about you; it is about God’s grace and mercy for you and others.