I get it, I really do. And in some ways, by starting this blog in the first place, I guess I sort of asked for it. By opening myself and my story up for the world to see, I realized very quickly that the world is going to respond, and it isn’t always pretty or uplifting. I try to be as honest and open as I can in my accounts of the trials and triumphs of the Christian cancer patient. The truth is that I was not ready for what was about to come my way when I entered the blogging “scene”, or “blogosphere” as some people call it. Yes, there are a few people out looking for a fight or out looking to prove that they know more about my faith than I do and that I’m stupid for believing. That doesn’t bother me at all, it’s quite expected. (Although I’ll admit it did lead me to begin moderating my comments, not because I’m afraid of what they’re saying, but because this isn’t the place for harshness and condemnation. There is a whole internet out there for people to squabble, this is meant to be a soft place to land for people who are worn and weary. A place where honest conversations lift each other up and where prayer is offered, not judgement.)
But mostly, I wasn’t prepared for how much support and love I’d recieve, I wasn’t ready to hear others’ stories of heartache and tragedy, and I wasn’t ready for the depth spiritually that that would take me. I was not prepared for how much my heart could be broken for others, people that I don’t even know, and how much others felt a burden for us, people who have never even met us. I’ve learned that the things that seem like burdens to us as believers often end up being great sources of blessings as we learn to be molded into useable vessels for God and the message of redemption through Christ.
Sometimes I fret about posting certain things, like when I’m doubting God’s plan or not feeling Him close to me. I, like many other Christians, feel the need sometimes to keep up a bizarre facade of perfection and unwavering faith. A fakeness that I don’t believe pleases or honors God. Life is messy and chaotic, but God is a refuge from all of that, truly, and his love shown to us through Christ is for everyone, no matter how big the mess. So the reality is that when I opened myself up and allowed that vulnerablility, I was met with love and reminders from my friends, family, and even strangers, of God’s love and provision, His truth and His presence, I’m reminded of how we are the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth and that there are many people out there willing to do that hard and often thankless work of speaking truth in love and being a light in places even like the internet where darkness seems to rule.
When we put ourselves out there with the intent to bless others, as so many people have done for us, I believe it comes back to us in a way that’s bigger and more beautiful than I certainly could ever describe. Perhaps we get a glimpse of understanding, a peek at God’s heart, a peace about God’s will for our lives. We start to understand that a “perfect” life of comfort and relative ease is likely not the plan, but that a life surrendered to God’s purpose is where fulfillment, joy, and peace abound, no matter what trials and sufferings may come our way. In Philippians 1:29, Paul reminds us that, “you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.”
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, and starvation, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
May God bless you with the weirdest blessing possible – His divine burden.
Our pastor read this in church a few weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to shake it. I’m not sure who wrote it, but it is accredited to a Craig Groeschel book. I pray that reading it can help bring revivial to all our hearts as we sense how the Spirit wants to work in and through our lives. It’s rarely pretty and almost never how we would have planned or wanted it, and that’s what so amazing about all of it.
The people and situations for which we are burdened are where we are meant to be a blessing.