If it meant that the mistakes, the sins, the disappointments, the rejections, the pain, the sorrow, the suffering, the joys, the heartbreak, the good times, the fun times, the painful times, the overwhelming times of sorrow times, all had to be done over again to be who I am today, to know what I know today....
Yes, I'd do it all over again.
If one event of my life, one mistake, one sin, one disappointment were to be taken out of my life's story, I would not be the same person.
You see, it hasn't been the good times, the good things, the good people, the good days that have made me who I am, it's been the hard times, the hard things, the bad people, the bad days that God has used to mold me and shape me into the person He created me to be.
Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful for the good things. My parents, my spouse, my children, my extended family, my friends, my home and all the material blessings that I've been lavished with.
If my life had just been made up of those things, those good things, those "you have so much to be thankful I can see it on the outside things", yes I am grateful. Sooooo many in this world have it soooo much worse materially than I do.
If God came to me in the flesh and said, "Okay, Ronda. Out of all the painful events that I've allowed to come into your life, if you could take one out and it would be as if it would have never happened, which do you want gone?"
Which would you take out of your life's story? I can think right off the top of my head a few biggies that I wish not only that could be a do-over but that they had never happened in the first place.
If just one of them were gone I would not have met some pretty awesome people because I would have had no need for them. I would have missed some deep and abiding friendships.
mostly I would have missed meeting God. I would have missed the opportunity to lean on Him, to call on Him in my trouble, to come to Him when I was weary and heavy burdened.
I would have missed Him.
And I would have had no reason for Him.
When I look at my life from a day in 1966 to this present day, November 20, 2012, there is no day that I can pick from those years that I would do over.
Those were good years those tough years, those tough moments, those heartbreaking days. They were good because God is good. God was in those days. God was calling me to Him through those days. God's voice was in the voice of those people he brought in my path, that I would have never met had the circumstances been changed or altogether gone.
I am thankful for those days and those to come. Some days in life will be hard. Jesus promised us that one.
Put that promise on your refrigerator.
In this world you WILL have trouble.
He didn't say we might, or we won't if we go to church, give to the church, help the poor.
He didn't say if you memorize my Word you will skate around trouble.
He said, "In this world you WILL have trouble." In this world you will have thlipsis - to crush, press, compress, squeeze, tribulation, affliction. Thlipsis conveys the picture of something being crushed, pressed, or squeezed as from a great weight.
An ancient olive press in Israel. Photo courtesy of Rhonda Piper Photography.
Trouble, in English, means to
agitate mentally or spiritually
to produce physical disorder in
to put to exertion or inconvenience
to put into confused motion
to become mentally agitated
Trouble came to Him and what did He do? He gave thanks to God. He kept talking to God. He kept listening to God. He kept on, even when He asked for this trouble to be taken away, He let God be God and kept walking through it. His human mind looked for escape. He wanted so badly for the pain and the misery to end. Remember, if there were any other way for this cup to pass.....
He begged just like we beg for our momentary troubles to go away.
He pleaded just like we plead for the pain and sorrow to end.
But in the end, He submitted to the story of His walk with God. It's probably not what his human mind would have chosen to save the world. But His divine mind knew it was necessary. His divine mind gave him what he needed to make it through living a sacrificial and troubling pain-filled life.
His divine mind lives in His children. He's in us, cheering us on, giving us what we need just when we need it to keep on keeping on.
He knows each day of your life matters for some important purpose. He knows each person in your life, whether they are there for good times or bad times, they are there for you.
He wants to walk this walk with you. The entire walk. Not just the walk that has you going in the church doors on a Sunday morning. He wants to walk with you when you're going through the hard Wednesdays and the terrible Thursdays. When you are getting squeezed till you can hardly breathe, when you are being crushed by your great burdens. He is there for You. Like no other human he allows in your life. He is there for you.
Those people you depend on, they have a purpose but it's not for complete dependency. HE is.
He's the ONLY one who knows exactly what this world's trouble is like for you. The ONLY ONE.
He's not surprised by anything you're going through.
He made the promise that you would go through trouble.
Guaranteed us trouble.
But then, He said, "Take heart! I have overcome the world."
When you're giving thanks this week (and I hope it's not just this week you're giving thanks, but every week, every day) give Him thanks for the things you wish had never happened. Give Him thanks for the things you wish you could do over. Give Him thanks for the pain. Give Him thanks for the sorrow.
He promised you would get it.
Rejoice that He has overcome it!
May you have a thank-filled Thanksgiving Day and everyday.
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