Wednesday, December 9, 2015

When Life Conflicts with Faith

Do you ever feel like your life is in direct conflict with your faith? I have had those times when it sure seemed like it. I wonder if Paul felt that way when he was held captive because of his faith. Early on this caregiving journey I had to sort through a lot of those feelings and came to realize that my faith had to be redefined. I've talked about it a lot - how faith doesn't prevent "bad" things from happening - it's what carries us through. 
I think Paul was in one of those conflicting moments as he penned 2 Corinthians. Some days I totally relate to chapter 7 where he says they experienced conflicts without and fears within. 

Actually, that sums up many days as a caregiver. I have battled so many fears in my thoughts. We've discussed some of them like what does the future look like? Will I be able to care for my loved one as I get older? How long can I physically provide for my son? What happens if I get sick, hurt, ect.? These thoughts can run rampant in my mind and I have to settle myself down occasionally and remind myself to just deal with today.  That's just the "fears within" part!

What about the "conflicts without" part? To many our lives may look like they are not faith filled. At first I felt so defeated by my circumstances and the fact that this tragedy ever occurred. I thought if I had enough faith I wouldn't be in this - or it would have never happened. And of course along the way, well meaning church folk have made comments that try to reinforce those thoughts. But it's simply not true. And I won't go off on that - but if faith kept us out of troubles - we would not even have most of the Bible we love, respect and enjoy today. There would be no faith-building stories - no lion's den, no crossing of the Red Sea, no fiery furnace, and Jesus would have never faced the cross!

Back to 2 Corinthians where Paul is open and frank about fears and conflicts. He soon follows it with this in verse 6 But God, who comforts the depressed.... Now I have to admit I have battled depression and I think it's a common struggle for many caregivers. While I can appreciate that fact - I think there's another way to look at it. What if depressed actually could be translated humble?

What if it's really just a matter of us taking our whole being before the God we serve, dumping it all at His feet and pouring out our hearts before Him with an - I can't handle this alone attitude? I think that then, and only then can He step in and fill up the gaps in our lives. Once we lay aside our pride and acknowledge that we really cannot walk this road without Him - He steps in. We have to be humble enough to present ourselves to Him. This can be difficult for the caregiver. We are so used to being "all that" - you know? It can be hard for us to acknowledge we need help - we psyche ourselves up by telling ourselves we can do this - we can handle it.....then we forget - we need to take it to Him and let Him carry it for us. A life that is in constant conflict with our faith - that's what we live.

But once we give our all to Him (on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis) He brings in the comfort we need. When we empty our hands and hearts for just a moment- and humble ourselves before Him, He fills us with the grace we need to make the day. The conflict is erased and we have comfort and peace.

Today I am going to purposefully pour it all out before Him. I'm not going to hold any tiny spot back for me to handle on my own - I'm going to meditate on being truly humble before Him. My thoughts will be on the comfort He provides and I will work on lining my life up with true faith - the faith that says He will remain with me in the fire, in the storm. I will think about the truth that He doesn't not go into "overload" like I do - and He won't shut down on me! I will purposefully turn my heart to trust Him more. Will you join me?

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