At first, taking the high road and doing right by God may not feel good.
Many believe that being a Christian is easy. Somehow our faith makes our problems and pain go away, but this is only a half-truth. It makes our problems and pain bearable.
Pain and suffering don’t always have a good reason, that whole “everything happens for a reason” remark is bologna. Some things could have been prevented; others are just the cards we were dealt with, either way, we must make lemonade out of lemons.
Bad things happen to ALL people. We don’t come to Christ to gain access to a protective bubble where we will be free from harm and pain. In church, we don’t receive a magic pill that will numb the pain. We continue holding on to our faith DESPITE our pain begging us to let go when we feel God is silent. In fact, we might endure more pain because of our faith!
Perhaps because our Christian views go against the grain of society’s norms, Satan may attack us in an attempt to stop us from spreading love and doing good in a world that’s getting worse by the second, or because through the suffering of self-denial we may experience the true meaning of love.
When Job lost everything, it wasn’t an “everything happens for a reason” thing. It was “the devil is on a mission to hurt God” kind of thing. Job was the devil’s pawn. The devil was trying to squeeze love out of him, therefore removing God from his heart should he fail the test. The devil wanted Job to stop loving God because of his suffering. Satan wanted Job’s faith in God to be conditional; only when Job’s life was good would God be worthy of his praise!
Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse thee to thy face. Job 1:10-11
Job prevailed! He was stripped of all his worldly attachments, but his heart remained anchored on God. He blocked his friends who gave him inadequate counsel, and he was faithful to God. He didn’t deny the challenges and pain he faced, he cried out to God, fully exposed and vulnerable.
St. John Bosco advises us: “Do not waste your suffering.”
I cannot control the things that bring agony to my heart, but I can control what I make of my aching heart.
Do I go further into darkness? Do I allow suffering to harden me? Do I make everyone around me suffer with me as I become bitter? Do I grab on to God’s strength to help me overcome? Do I surrender to my pain and allow God to carry me through it? Do I sustain internal peace when the world around me is falling apart? Do I stand up and keep walking, not because of my accord, but because with God all things are possible, and if I love it’s because He loved me first?
Yesterday I was reminded that my reward is in heaven, not on earth. The only praise I am in search of is God saying “that’s my girl.” I don’t need a standing ovation from my enemies for the suffering I endure for the sake of keeping the peace. All I need is peace in my heart knowing that I am right with God.
My ego tries to steer me towards retaliation. My ego reminds me that not many take the high road. The person who I am sparing will never appreciate the gift of my goodness. However, it’s not about that person anyway; it’s about my relationship with God! It’s about not allowing someone to fill me with shame for the sake of “getting even” and temporarily feeling good. It’s about making a sacrifice for the glory of God. Not for me, not for them, but for you God. The sacrifice of doing the “irrational,” and turning the other cheek, not returning evil for evil, is to preserve the beauty of God’s love and our faith.
God and I have come a long way, I cannot crumble because my perplexed heart is torn between doing good or caving into the desire for retaliation. Doing good doesn’t feel great right now. But I am proud of my discipline, my restraint because I’m entrusting Jesus with the justice of this situation. In the past, many have laughed at me for doing what I’m doing now, doing absolutely nothing. Pausing. Being smart. Being Godly.
In the past when I’ve faced this situation, I didn’t search for revenge, I gave God my agony. God in His mysterious ways twist and turned the situation around by means that my retaliatory words and actions never would’ve been able to. With time things simmered and a shocking level of peace was reached.
I remember the scene following Judas’ betrayal where one with Jesus grabs the sword to fight and defend Him, but Jesus instructs him to stop. Jesus was about to be crucified! If there was ever a reason to fight back and retaliate, that would’ve been it!! Yet Jesus surrendered himself, not only because it was part of God’s plan and we needed it to be saved, He did it out of love. Like I said in my post yesterday, I strive to live radically like God. I need to guard my heart and stay aligned with God’s love.
Therefore I need to let go and let God!
My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.