Sometimes it just seems a little too much. Like being kicked while you are down.
I totally understand the colloquial term ‘the straw that broke the camels back’. The big things are hard enough to deal with in life, but the accumulation of all the little things seems to be what ruins us. Sickness and disease, heartbreak and disaster are notable, but it’s often the small moments of pain, of hopelessness, of betrayal and injustice that seem exaggerated when so much else is going on.
In those moments you can feel abandoned by a God you believed was loving. I have often told God that it would take so little to turn my heart back to him. Sickness and pain are part of this world. The truth that suffering is also part of the human experience every bit as much as joy is something I understand now. But it is just so hard to read Jesus say that God’s eye is on the sparrow, when it seems that He has lost sight of me.
In the first century people had the belief that if they were born blind, or with some sort of ailment it was the consequences of there parents’ sin. Growing up in that culture you can at least understand that as the hard bits of life happened people would ask themselves ‘what have I done wrong?’ Jesus corrects this logic by saying it isn’t true. Instead, somethings happen so that God may be glorified. But I get their thinking. I can see how you could begin to wonder if you are cursed. You can easily find yourself examining your life—second guessing decisions you have made because you feel like you are being punished. I can’t help but think if I was there when Jesus made that statement I would have asked him to qualify his answer.
The gospel of Matthew records Jesus as saying that God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. It seems then, that the circumstances in life are doled out in some sort of fair way. Although what fair means to us must be different than what fair means to God. I wish people would stop suggesting that all their happiness is because God has blessed them. Because they wouldn’t like it if I suggested that all my misery is a result of the same equation. While they are getting the sun, I am getting the rain. It is hard for me not to wish for them a monsoon. As I sit waterlogged watching from a distance those waterskiing in their sunshine. As I tread water, others drink their Pina colada’s dry and tanned on the shore. Both of us have worked hard. Both of us have lived fairly good lives, yet in this moment we find ourselves in very different places. I want to rejoice that they are free from what troubles me. Truthfully we never know what lies behind the smiles of shiny happy people. Perhaps the rain for them is internal. But when your drowning with land in sight, little comfort is found from those who are dry. And being with those who are wet often seems satisfying at first but then it seems to only aggravate.
So God on behalf of all those who live today in the rain. For all those who will become overwhelmed not by the weight of their life circumstances but because of the little injustices they will experience today. For all those who seem to have a cloud right above their heads in a room full of people applying sunscreen and complaining of the heat. For those of us who are pitied and avoided and prayed for….what ever that means.
May we be different when the sun peaks out behind our clouds. When the storm moves on, may we be of understanding. May the world be better because there are survivors. May our struggles produce resilience, and faith—and not just in us, but in those with whom we can say…yes it’s a lot of rain but it’s how I learned to swim.
(Pic from https://stocksnap.io/photo/34804E7AB7)