There are things in this life that we cling to. That we hold onto with frantic, grasping hands that only weaken as the years go by. These things, it would seem, are the essence of happiness and when they are taken from us we feel empty, betrayed, punished. Money, health, family, friends--it makes no difference. These things are not guaranteed. They are not promised to you. When you are born you are not assigned a contract along with your birth certificate, outlining all the things you can reasonably expect in your lifetime. A healthy, fun childhood. Freedom as a teenager to rebel a little, explore who you might be. The chance in your twenties to go to college, sow some wild oats, and start your career.
You are not promised a fairy tale marriage.
You are not assured a cancer-free body.
It is not assumed that you will outlive your children.
I've heard it said that the memories you make are the only things that last, but can you be sure that you will retain those memories when your mind is aged and failing?
So often we make the assumption that life will be good to us, and when it isn't, we kick and scream and beat out tiny human fists against the ground and rail against God. We scream at the sky our outraged "how could You do this to me?" We walk away from God, deny His existence, or allow our view of Him to diminish to the point where He is seen as nothing more than harsh tyrant bent on punishment and hellfire. Or worse--indifferent to our pain. Even we who believe are blind-sided by trials and rough seas, by illness and pay-cuts, by fights with spouses and kids who do things you never thought they would do.
Notice how there's a "but" there? It's there for a reason. You might not like the reason. The reason may rub you the wrong way, induce eye-rolling or anger, but it's still there: life is not these things. Life is a gift, given by God, so that we may know Him and love Him as He loves us. Every blessing added on top of life is icing on the cake. Every trial that comes and grieves us is a way He shows us that we need Him. That we're created to rely on Him solely. He's not an additive that makes life better so long as you follow all the rules--He IS life. And even though we are created to think and feel deeply, to question and quell doubts, our minds are totally limited. We have difficulty seeing the big picture in the midst of our petty trials of a bad day, a headache, that irritating person who just won't back off. How could we possibly know why God does anything? Why He denies or allows anything? How could we ever comprehend His big picture? And if we can't comprehend it, how could we allow grief and misery in our lives to cause us to question His love?
I don't know why this is weighing on my mind today. Maybe there's one person reading this blog who needs to know the love of God. Maybe there's someone who has turned their back on Him because He allowed suffering in their life, or their family's lives. Maybe I'm about to go through something hard and need the encouragement myself--who knows. All I know is that there is only one guarantee in life, and that is God. He is there, He will be there with you no matter what. If you want Him. If you seek Him.
Seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you.
God is love.
--I John 4:8
Love never fails.
--I Corinthians 13:8