A very sobering message…please read!
Day 18 – “Would you have chosen a different life?”
Spent yesterday very resentful towards God. I did my Scripture reading in the morning, only to be reminded afterward that my first baby, the first of many losses – well, that baby was due on January 20, 2000. He or she would be a grown-up tomorrow. It jolted me unexpectedly, and I sank into a deep depression that revealed some pent-up resentment – resentment that I hadn’t seen as getting in the way or intimacy with God, but it has been.
The people whom I know best in ministry tend to have these bizarre lives, where we have gone through not one or two bad things, but catalogs of them. Our lives are this strange conglomeration of bizarre rarities that one would have no connection to if they were not connected to us. It’s like David – he had this crazy series of ups and downs – for goodness sake, he was hunted for years, by his father in law. His wife Abigail was kidnapped. His first wife Michal was given away to another guy. But compare that to Saul – who by all accounts led a normal life before becoming a king. Whose kingship was more successful?
Saul has no recorded tragedies in his life that were not of his own making. David’s early problems were not of his doing. The truth seems to be that unending and unpleasant strange events occur in the lives of people from whom more is going to be required.
So yesterday I was angry. Why had I gone through all the things you generally only see on made for tv movies? Who, over the course of four years, has a stroke, then loses a bunch of babies, gets matched with twins, only to find out that one will be seriously disabled, and then has to fight the convicted felon who fathered them by force for a year, losing practically everything? The sheer nonsense and improbability of it was just staggering to me. I became aware of a wall between God and I that I had not noticed before. It was a wall protecting myself from the consequences of following Him, and the stuff I figured it subjected me to. This was, obviously, His fault. I had a target on my back, or something. I brooded for a while, broken only by tears and mourning.
“Would you have chosen a different life?”
No answer, I heard Him clearly enough. Everything I have ever done in ministry is tied to who I am and what I have gone through. Every tragedy, every sin committed against me, from the time I was little until now, has shaped who I am in Messiah. Without having experienced X, I would be unable to minister Y to others. But no, “He should have protected me,” I would remind myself as I ducked for cover behind the wall again.
“Would you change anything that has happened to you if it meant you risked being a different person right now, in any way, in ways you will have no control over deciding?”
Would I take back being able to relate to molestation victims, or children of alcoholics, or the barren, to special needs families and those who are ailing? Would I want to not be able to weep with those who weep? Would I want to be the kind of person who was never devastated and betrayed by someone in ministry and unable to relate to those who have been? Would I be willing to offer platitudes instead of the ability to walk through terrible yet familiar territory with someone who is still there, and scared to death? Would I trade, “I have been where you are, and I survived, you will survive too and I will help you.” for “I can’t imagine what you are going through right now.”?
I wrestled all day. And when it came down to it, I had to admit that, given the choice, I would choose this life. He gave me the life I needed to have, and He allowed the things that needed to happen to me so that I could live this life – hopefully while acting a lot more like David and not like Saul. In the end, the only thing I told Him I would change were the things I did to others, not the things done to me. I don’t have the right to build my life on the sins I have harmed others through.
And so now I have to spend some time dismantling the wall I built to protect me, not from the consequences of serving God, but from the kind of life in Him that I would have chosen for myself, if given the opportunity. I was just never honest enough with myself to realize the cost of what I wanted. I never wanted a normal life, and so I have no right to resent His answering of a prayer that I never even knew I was praying. Time to take full responsibility for what it means to want to serve God.
-The Tabernacle of David team, via our Facebook fan page