Learning to Enjoy the Valley

Today is one of those days…  a day where I have more questions than answers.  A day where the journey ahead seems a bit too long.  This is a day that I struggle to enjoy the view.

I have a dear friend who is suffering an illness that is taking her away from me.  It’s taking her away from everyone – even herself.  It’s scary.  I feel helpless.  I want to fix it but can’t.

It’s days like this that knock me off my feet and make me wish for heaven.  The longer I live, the more I yearn for all of the pain in this life to be over.  Growing up was supposed to fix all the longings of my heart.  Now, there seem to be more longings, not less.  I wanted a world were everyone was loved, where families stayed together, where no one got sick, and only ancient saints were called to heaven.  I wanted heaven on earth.  But we’re not there yet, and God in His wisdom is not bound by my fleeting emotions.

Days like this tempt me to hide in my shell.  To play Scarlet O’Hara and “..think about it tomorrow.”  To turn off my emotions so I don’t feel the pain.  But that’s not living.  Being alive is feeling everything – joy as well as pain.  I’ve spent far too many seasons of my life pushing hard emotions aside.  I’ve used denial as a means of survival.  I don’t want to live like that anymore.

How can I accept the blessings of God and not endure the pain?  How can I ask for the mountaintop but refuse the lessons of the valley?  How can I depend on a faithful God, if there is no need for faith?  How can Jesus be my Prince of Peace if there is no chaos?  Ah, but there is pain and loss and chaos.  So will I run to the One who holds all of life in His hands or will I pull the covers over my head and curse the darkness?

Days like these demand that I call on the One who I profess to be my Good Shepherd, the Vine, and Lover of my Soul.  Days like these allow the Holy Spirit to be my Comforter and Friend.  Opening myself up to the pain is the only way that the Healing can come in.  It’s worth the risk.  Jesus is Faithful and True.  He is the Way and the Life.

So I will feel the pain of today for I am alive to feel it.  I may not have all the answers, but what I do know is this: God is good and I am loved.   That’s the only way to enjoy the view…