Suffering

“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Tonight is the night that Jesus is betrayed. I don’t think I’m ever fully prepared for this weekend and what transpires on it. I’m never prepared for the weight of Friday, the anxiousness of Saturday or the joy of Sunday. It’s all so overwhelmingly amazing that my flighty human flesh can’t handle it.

As I was reading my Lent series tonight, I came across the verse above and I was struck all over again with awe at how amazing Jesus is.

How many times have I prayed the first part of this prayer? How many times have I desperately asked God to take away my pain and suffering? How many times have I told Him that I don’t deserve this and that if He would just take it away, I would serve Him better? How many times do I fail in my faith in Him?

I really don’t believe that God causes suffering, but I do think that He can be glorified through our struggles and suffering.

Jesus knew this too. Jesus knew He had to die for us because of all the suffering that sin had and would cause. Jesus wanted it to go away; like me He asked God to take it from Him. Unlike me, He went one step further. He trusted and knew that God’s will is higher, that He knows better, and that He has a plan to make goodness shine through our suffering.

I may not understand why I suffer and I may not be able to handle my pain at times. But through it all, I know that God is faithful. He is in control and because of that I can say, “yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Tomorrow Jesus is going to die for me and yet again, I’m not prepared. But tonight I’ll rest in the truth that my God is faithful and that He will bring to completion every good work that He has begun in you and in me.

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When Bible College Wasn’t What You Were Expecting

I haven’t really written much of anything in a long time.

I never write during the summer because days at camp are just too long and too busy to sit and get anything down on paper.

I promised myself I would start writing once a week when September came around but that didn’t really happen either.

At first, it was cause I was just a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts and business. My job was ending, I was moving into college, my mom was back visiting, I was going on my first date ever and starting my first relationship ever. They’re all amazing things but it just kept me busy.

And then college started and holy, I didn’t understanding the meaning of the words homework or busy until the beginning of September. The readings and the assignments and the essays that are required is enough to make your head spin. Then add on all the social events then you’re expected to go to and sometimes it’s more than I can handle.

(Don’t get me wrong, I love college now but honestly, it’s been a struggle to get to this point.)

I got so sad and frustrated around October. I was in the midst of Bible college but my spiritual life was lacking more than ever.

I found it hard to read my Bible for my personal life because even though my professors had warned me, it was becoming my textbook.

I found it hard to actually retain anything and instead of learning I felt like I was just studying to pass the exam.

I found it hard to make friends and balance my social life with my school life.

I thought coming to Bible college would put me on a spiritual high that was better than any I have ever experienced when in fact, I have just been struggling in my personal relationship with God.

I felt stuck, like I was at the bottom of a deep hole with no way to get out and back to reality.

And then, one night after crying to my boyfriend and him affirming me that everything was gonna be alright, I went to small group.

One of the other girls raised her hand timidly and said, “Does anybody else feel like you’re in Bible college but your spiritual life is declining?”

My soul screamed, “YES.” I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t the only one struggling. In fact, most of the other girls voiced the same opinion.

We talked about why this was happening and how we could change it and we realized that sometimes we have to be so, so intentional and creative with our relationship with God.

I have to carve out that time just reading my Bible with Him or I’ll just be drained.

I have to carve out time where I write about what He’s teaching me or I won’t remember.

I have to be creative and find other ways to be with Him and worship Him and go deeper with Him.

I have to be intentional with my relationships with my boyfriend and my friends. I have to make time to hang out and know them or else those relationships will fizzle out.

Yes studying is important, but it can’t take precedent over these other important things or we’ll just be drained and lonely.

So, I finished most of my studying today in between my two classes today.

And now I’m sitting here writing at exactly 9:30pm, just like I planned.

My Spotify playlist of Jesus music is playing in the background which is also what I use to worship Jesus on the drives to Hamilton or Brantford to be with friends.

I’m still learning and most days aren’t as organized as this one was but that’s the beauty of grace. I’m allowed to constantly be learning, I’m allowed to mess up. Jesus still welcomes me back, broken pieces and all.

 

 

When “What If” Threatens To Take Over

I live my life in fear of “what-ifs”. I’m sure this isn’t new to anyone, we all wonder about the “ifs” in our lives, and we are in constant fear of them too.

What if I get sick?

What if I get rejected?

What if I get hurt?

What if, what if, what if.

I’m realizing that continually worrying about these situations doesn’t make our lives any better. Worrying about “what ifs” doesn’t protect us from those scenarios, it just makes us more scared. Worrying about the next danger lurking in the shadows makes our lives harder, not easier. It makes it harder to live a full and abundant life and it makes it harder to serve Jesus whole-heartedly.

A majority of the time, I worry about getting some weird illness and sometimes that stops me from loving like I should. But I’m learning that it’s silly to worry because I’ve already been saved. Jesus saved me by His grace when he died on the cross and that isn’t just a one-time thing. He knows about those dangers I can so easily preoccupy myself with and he is going to keep saving me from them through his grace.

Its’ through his grace that I’ve never contracted a parasite when I’ve gone to a foreign country.

It’s through his grace that I’ve never gotten lice while being in such close contact with children who could have it.

It’s through his grace I got accepted into college.

It’s through his grace that I wake up every morning alive and healthy.

His grace isn’t just in the good things either, it’s in the bad just as much as the good. Without him saving me from things I perceived as “good,” I would be in some big trouble right now.

He loves us and he knows us and he’s going to keep saving us.

In light of all this, I’m gonna stop worrying about the “what if’s.”

There’s this quote from my favourite book that I love, it says, “He didn’t love people the way that Hallmarks says to love people, he loved them linebacker style, in a full contact way.”

That’s how I want to love and help people. Full on, without fear of anything that may happen to me because the truth is, when we can fully forget ourselves and our worries and love others first thinking about their needs above our own, beautiful, significant, life-changing things happen and that’s better than any “safe” life I could ever imagine for myself.

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