I think God enjoys wrestling with me. The past few years have been spiritual wrestling matches where I’ve battled who I thought I was and what I thought had been taught and knew. The changes have been crazy at times, painful at times and full of peace and joy at times. I’m wrestling again.
I’ve found much comfort the past year in reading Jesus Calling. I feel like it speaks directly to me and my situation so often. I know many other people who feel the same way but I’m sure it was written directly to me some days. Today is one of those days where the words take me to the wrestling mat.
The past 15 years of my life have been a struggle. Personal relationships, business relationships, intimate relationships…struggle, struggle, struggle. Through it all I have consistently grown closer to God. There are days I feel like I have no faith left, none whatsoever, and then I find myself praying to God telling him I’ve run out of faith. Sounds kind of crazy to pray to the being you’ve lost faith in, huh? So, I take it my faith is growing stronger because I say things to God that would scare many people I know. I think I’m either crazy or my faith is so strong I can say anything to God and believe he deals with it pretty well. Maybe he laughs at my foolishness. Maybe he gets a little angry and wants to throw a lightning bolt at me.
I remember a time I was telling my daughter she needed to do a better job of something and she fired back, “well, I don’t have a very good example, do I?” BOOM! My first inclination was to tell her how the cow at the cabbage, show her who’s boss, put my foot down…all those things. But I held my tongue and soaked it in that day. The next day, I reminded her of the conversation and then threw this little zinger back at her. “Honey, if I’m your example, your sights are set far too low. When Jesus is your example, then you will be on target.”
I can’t help but think that’s what God is trying to tell me. I’m frustrated because I see a tormentor having an easier life and living better than me. “Jeff, if that’s your example of a good life, your sights are set way too low. Look at Jesus’ life and follow his example.” I’m frustrated because I’m not sleeping in my own bed most nights and not near the people I want to see every chance I get. “Jeff, it those are the things you are focused on, your sights are set way too low. Focus on Jesus. Remember what he did and why he did it. Be his disciple even when it’s uncomfortable.”
I’ve got to be honest and say I don’t think God is telling me to be happy in my circumstances or even to be grateful. Oh, I’ve read James 1:2 and I still don’t think it’s God telling me to be happy about my pain and frustration and fears. No, I think he’s telling me to focus on what is really important.