I’m at a place in my life right now where ideas and decisions are colliding and I feel confused and disoriented. I want answers and God and I are having a few words about it. I feel entitled to some sort of breakthrough or revelation about what He wants me to do or who He wants me to be.
“You’re a child of God!” or “He wants you to be sanctified!” aren’t bad answers to my questions but they feel vague and big and mysterious. I think Christians everywhere need to allow themselves to be frustrated and confused when they can’t make sense of big and mysterious things. Not that we should be caught off guard when we experience pain or suffering (internal or external) because we’re promised it (John 16:33). So let’s just move past the prosperity gospel, send it to the hell it originated from, and recognize that we’re going to suffer, shall we?
But until the suffering is staring us in the face, we have no idea how it is going to manifest in our lives and a lot of times it’s just not going to make sense. God will never operate in a way that we can completely understand. He thinks differently and acts differently (Isaiah 55:8-9) so it’s only logical that we’ll have questions. Which is one of the many many reasons I’m so thankful for His grace. Grace fills in the gap between my questions and His sufficiency.
When I was unemployed I tasted the bitter flavors of shame, disappointment, and anger. I was angry about being unemployed while simultaneously disturbed by how much it shook me. I didn’t just lose a paycheck, I had been stripped of worth. I felt naked and stupid and terribly useless. I scoffed at Scripture that told me I had all I needed in Christ. I woke up ashamed, I fell asleep ashamed. It was unsettling. I thought I had this strong foundation, this clear trust in the Rock of Ages who would weather me through any storm. Yet there I was, tasting my tears and biting my tongue from cursing the God I had faithfully followed for so many years.
Sometimes you go through situations in life in which you’ve convinced yourself exactly where the long dark tunnel will end. You know that after you reach point X, your life will begin to smooth out and you can happily find your place back in the land of normalcy. That’s what I thought about finding a job in December. “Finally! This is where the suffering gets redeemed, right? Being employed will lift me out of this dark place filled with doubting God and emotional meltdowns…right?”
I’m now a few months into my job and realizing that getting a job was how the Lord was helping me address one physical need but He still had spiritual and emotional needs that needed redeeming (and uhh.. He always will). I’m also realizing that redemption is a difficult process and I’m not sure why I thought it would come wrapped in a bright and sparkly package of happy. Case in point: the cross of Christ.
Being unemployed had shattered some fragile layers of identity and self-worth that I had hidden behind, but some walls still remain intact. I am currently navigating through a self-made labyrinth of identity that is so confusing and volatile and wrong. While I’m discovering the depth of this mess I’m also discovering that God loves me too much to lose me in it. He keeps breaking down these walls, re-directing me from my favorite dead end paths, and reminding me that I am already free from this. He keeps pointing to the cross as I keep pointing to my pile of good works decomposing in the corner. I keep changing the subject, He keeps making Himself the subject. It’s kind of a chaotic conversation but it’s working. Gradually the labyrinth is transforming from a prison of fear to a place of worship.
I still have questions, but I’m starting to love the journey to my answers.