To live life well is hard.
It is difficult to live deliberately, to continue to work for the good of yourself and those you love. It is easier to coast, to react, to let things slide.
For myself, it is easier to let the clutter pile up than to keep our house feeling like a home. It is easier to read mind-candy sorts of novels than to ponder the nature of our God and this universe. It is easier to let my children learn on their own or through their schools, to allow my girls get away with small acts of unkindness and to be passive in the way they discover God than to fight for their hearts and their minds. It is easier to let my relationship with my husband drift, to sit in our separate corners in the evenings than to work to know him and enjoy him.
Often I do not want to fight. I do not want to fight for what is good. I do not want to fight for what is God-honoring and God-pleasing.
Yet I fight anyway. I fight because I love and, in this world anyway, loving requires you to fight.
I don’t fight perfectly, though. I fight in fear of the needs that others have. I fight in fear of my own inability to give anything good. I fight in fear of doing the wrong thing and causing irreparable harm.
But still I fight, imperfect as it may be. I fight in obedience to One who fought for me.
Just like you. You go and you fight. You go to the bedside of the sick or even the dying and you fight. You go to the home of someone who is lonely and you fight. You go to a meeting of a church group in need of volunteers and you fight. You go to the food pantry, the orphanage, the shelter, and you fight. You go to funeral, the party, the study, and you fight.
We go because it is where His way leads us; and again and again we are blessed by our going in ways we can never anticipate, and our going becomes a blessing to the ones we go to because when we follow His way, we never go entirely along, and it is always something more than just ourselves and our own emptiness that we bring. ~ Frederick Buechner
So keep going. Keep fighting. And be blessed because when you go and when you fight, you are never fighting alone.
Art credit: photo of Christ carrying the cross by Asta Rastauskiene
My littlest turned one this week.
She is a New Year’s baby, the first of the year in our county. In my own opinion, it would be difficult to find a better way to bring joy and hope to a new year than with a perfect baby.
She passed her Papa on her way to us.
My dear friend, Martha Cook, said it well: And so your Papa stood at Heaven’s Gate. He saw as she passed by. He blew a kiss. “Samantha,” he said, “God is sending you to the best of families.” Then he turned and entered into the arms of the God he served. Well done. Well done.
It is a truth of this world that joy is wrapped up with sorrow. You cannot have one without the other.
It is the way of this world and it is the way of our God. He loves us, knowing that the joy of His love will be enveloped in sorrow. He loves us while He bears our grief and our sorrow.
If God Himself bears both joy and sorrow, how can we expect anything different?
Yet we do. We expect joy without sorrow, love without grief. When the grief and sorrow come, we shake our fists at this God and ask why?
And we should ask why, but a why of a different kind. Why, God? Why would You choose to love us when we continually turn our faces from You? Why would You choose to take our grief and sorrow upon Yourself? Why did You come to our rescue instead of leaving us to the fate we brought on ourselves?
We will not, in this life, have joy without sorrow. We can either try to live this life with God or without Him. With Him, the joys are brighter and the sorrows are lighter.
So breathe in and breathe out.
We receive what You give; We give thanks for what You give.
Above all, we give thanks for You.
Art credits: Gethsemane by Carl Bloch; Three Crosses by Rembrandt; Going to Emmaus by Robert Zund; Christ and Samaritan Woman by Henryk Siemiradzki