Recently in reflecting on my own life I asked myself, “when am I going to have this all figured out?” My husband and I have 15 years of marriage experience and 14 years of parenting experience. We are currently raising our sixth one-year-old and honestly changing his diaper still makes me feel like a rookie.
Speaking of rookies, our oldest is venturing into high school in two weeks and this uncharted territory and all that comes with it also has me wishing life came with a clear-cut playbook. One of the rules in our family’s ad hoc playbook is “no hitting or kicking each other”. Sounds pretty simple, right? Not so much for a couple of our kiddos. As I stepped in after another violation of the rule, I said to the offender “you know that’s unacceptable, why did you do that?” She shrugged her shoulders and skipped up the steps.
I was reminded of Romans 7, specifically, “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” (If you followed that the first time reading it through, congratulations! If not, maybe reread it a couple of times.) I thought of the times that I do things I know are wrong; things I do not want to do. Things I try not to do, but can’t seem to help myself.
We are complicated. Relationships are complicated. Work and school are complicated. Figuring out and keeping up with social media (well, maybe just for me) is complicated. We want things in life to be easy, simple, convenient and quick. We want to be in control and to understand why things happen and what’s going to happen next. But let me ask you this: When are we more likely to turn to God…when everything is going right or when everything is going wrong? When we have it all figured out or when we have no idea what’s going to happen next? If the worst things that ever happen to us draw us deeper into a relationship with Jesus, I am convinced those things were well worth the pain.
Maybe you’ve encountered deep suffering in your life. Surely we are all experiencing trials right now in one way or another. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to bring that pain to Jesus. He sees it. He cares about it. He wants you to talk to Him about it. Go for a walk or to your bedroom and close the door – talk to Him honestly like you would talk to a friend and then be silent and listen to what He wants to tell you. He will speak to your heart if you’ll give him the time. He will transform your pain into glory.
Life is complicated for many reasons. Some of those reasons are in our control and others are not. A few weeks ago, as my mind and my heart were trying to “figure it all out” I thought “we’ve got it all figured out as soon as we realize we will never figure it all out.” And in perhaps a strange way, this brings me peace.
Jesus, life can be so hard. Please increase our faith and trust in You and use our sufferings to draw us closer to Your Love. Sorry for our pride when we try to take care of everything by ourselves. God, thank you for giving us the Bible to be our “playbook” for life. Please increase our desire to read it and our ability to understand your Word. Amen.