Ever heard the saying, "When life gives you lemons..."? Ever feel like life has thrown you too many lemons? I know I have. Which is why I laugh when I hear that saying. It reminds me of a video game. Portal 2.
I would love to throw the lemons back at life. The combustible lemons! I'd love to ask life who they think they are. But as a Christian, I know that life's manager is someone we don't want to tempt. God. God gives us those lemons to strengthen and test our faith.
Faith is a tricky subject. Most people think it has only to do with religion. The definition on Dictionary.com would, however, greatly disagree. The very first listing is:
Confidence or trust in a person or thing.
I have every bit as much confidence that God is in control as anyone would have that the sofa will be a seat they can plant their rear ends on without fail. However, that doesn't mean that my faith never wavers. On the contrary. It wavers often. I'd say that a person not believing in God would have stronger faith than I do as a Christian sometimes. I question God. I ask 'Why'? And very often I get frustrated when I don't feel my prayers are answered the way I wanted them to be. With all that, I still believe. I still hold to my faith. That God is in control. That things will work out. That this all serves a greater purpose. I just can't see it yet.
Wavering doesn't equal weakness.
We all have moments when we feel as though our faith isn't strong enough. That doesn't mean that it is weak, however. We are human. Questioning things is natural to us. I can't tell you how often I have wondered about my life and where things were going. That doesn't mean I'm weak in my beliefs. I just need to reaffirm them. No better way to do that than to read God's word or pray. Someone recently asked me how I do it. How I keep going day after day with what I deal with. Prayer. My number 1 go-to. But here is something I think we need to be reminded of when it comes to prayer. Okay a couple things actually. First off - be thankful. I know, I know. Hard to do when your body is wracked with pain and you just want to cry and give up on life. But there is always at least one thing to be thankful for. So before anything else, say thanks. Then you have to remember, God doesn't always answer right away. Or even when He does answer, it is not always how we hoped.
I'm being reminded of this heavily. I recently found out that my condition has not only worsened, but there is no more hope of doctors being able to put me back together. My spine is going to fall apart piece by piece and there is nothing that anyone can do for it. I have to "learn to live with it" until there is "no other choice" but to cut me open and start removing the broken bits. Not a pretty bunch of words to say the least. Do you know how hard it is to hear those words and to wait until the doctor walks out before letting the tears go? How much I struggle with it when I think of all I won't be able to do with my kids? Talk about my faith wavering often these days...
Faith can't stand alone.
Faith in some things - like healing and answers - requires patience. My husband loves to remind me that my suffering works on my patience. For starters, I'm not a very nice person when my pain goes above a level 7. I'm irritable. I get snippy with everyone. My fuse is incredibly reduced. I've been embarrassed to go around family when I hurt because I have a hard time reigning in my darkened mood. My in laws are quite adept at knowing when I'm in pain, even when I smile and try to act like nothing is wrong. This increases my discomfort. After all, who wants to be the broken one at a family gathering? I recently told my husband that it is like PMS-ing 24/7 when my pain won't end. So, faith needs patience. And lots of it!
Faith needs strength.
If faith isn't strong, it fails. But to be built up, it needs a workout. Like my flabby belly, it has to be exercised. This one is something I have to be reminded of. Every time I feel like things are going awry, I have to take a step back and give it over to God. I have to stop trying to fix everything in my own ways. Admitting I am not strong enough for something is not easy. No one wants to admits they have faults. Or are lacking in any way. Yet, we all are.
Faith needs backup.
People who can remind you of the things I mentioned above are priceless when you are falling. I have two women in my life who message me often. Who tell me to keep up the good fight. To not let darkness take control. To give everything, in prayer, to God. They are there when I need them most. Never wavering. They have their own struggles and pain to deal with, but they don't let me slip in mine. When I grow up, I want to be just like them. When I have lost my mobility and am wheelchair bound, I want to be able to encourage others as they do for me. I want their kind of faith. Beyond the bitter end.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.