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December 26, 2020

Finding the Beautiful Story in the Midst of Struggle

By T Munroe

My biggest struggle? Not eating an entire bag of chocolate pretzels in one sitting. 

…Just kidding. I mean it is, but if only it was that simple. If only my biggest life’s problem could be solved with a quick fix like: Just don’t buy chocolate pretzels.

My for real biggest struggle? Perfectionism. Hyper-responsibility. Wanting to fix and control everything. Never slowing down enough to process things. Those struggles are proving to be a lot harder to solve these days. They’re the struggles that make me stop and say, “What the heck, God? Whatever You’re doing right now isn’t part of MY perfect plan – so do it MY way or don’t do it at all.”

I cannot tell you how many times God and I have had these talks. (It’s embarrassing to admit.) As of late, His plan for my husband, Carter, and I doesn’t include children – yet we live in suburbia and are surrounded by so many of them. (Infertility is the worst.) When things get messy in life – crushed dreams, failed expectations, broken relationships, (feel free to fill in your own blank here, too) – it’s hard to be ok with it. It’s hard to be confronted with these harsh realities of a broken world. 

It’s hard to feel like you have a beautiful life, a beautiful story. 

BUT. The cool thing about God? He desires a beautiful story for all of us and sealed the deal on that promise with His Son Jesus. Check it: 

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him (1 Thessalonians 5: 9-10).

And a cool thing about Jesus? He knows that the mess and all-too-sudden imperfections of life – like the death of His friend Lazarus – are hard too. Check it:

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” He asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” (John 11:33-36).

Read this: Jesus wept. I cannot tell you the comfort for me in these words alone. Like, shout out to whoever translated this for us because they left that entire sentence in a verse of its own (v. 35). It highlights the free hall pass God gives us to stop and grieve too. To be like Jesus and mourn over the messy parts of life, the not-so-beautiful parts of a story.

See, in God’s infinite, omniscient power (omniscient = He knows everything), God sees the messy moment and looks beyond it to the end of the story. Because He sees the whole story, we can trust that God is working out every detail to make sure it IS beautiful in the end (Revelation 21:4). Because He sees the whole story, God knows that we need the same power that raised Lazarus from the dead to sustain us until the end of our story, too (John 11:43-45). And because He sees the whole story, God reminds us to just hang on and believe: 

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).

 

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