Let’s be clear … I’m not God. Nor am I His spokesperson. But I have studied His words for the majority of my life. I’ve poured my heart out to Him. I have listened to His still, small voice. And, I hope, I’ve learned a few things about Him.
Of course, I could be wrong … but in my understanding of God’s love for His children, this is why He doesn’t save all the starving orphans, all the children born into abuse, all the mothers who lose their little ones, all the little ones who never get to take their first breath of Earthly air, all the fathers who mourn the innocence of their children gone to the wiles of addiction and fornication, all the parents that never get to experience children of their own, all the men and women that lose their jobs, their families, their lives … all His children that experience pain in all its pervasive forms.
It’s because God doesn’t keep any of his children home.
What does that mean? Let me explain.
Currently, all my children, in fact, all in my home, are suffering in one form or another. Right this very moment, as I type this, there is pain, there is heartache, there is depression. There is fear and the struggle to keep going. And everyone wants to stay home … everyday.
They clamor for homeschool and work-from-home jobs. To be honest, I’ve had several anxiety attacks dropping my children off in the carlines each morning and seeing my man leave for work each day. I want to call out to them as they walk away from the safety of our home, “Wait! Come back. Stay with me. I’ll protect you. We’ll be safe together. Come back.”
But that’s not God’s plan.
He doesn’t keep any of his children home.
Not that I couldn’t homeschool again if I chose to, not that it’s wrong to do so … this isn’t about that. Rather, this is about reacting out of fear. Sheltering those we love from pain because it hurts, from challenging circumstances because life is hard.
God sends us into this fallen world knowing full well all the pitfalls … every razor-sharp knife’s edge … completely understanding what He is sending us into.
Still, He sends us.
And not just us … but His only Begotten Son, also.
He has sent the perfect, the innocent, the meek and lowly, the courageous and valiant … to suffer, to learn, to increase in knowledge and strength. To become as He is. All-knowing, perfected, glorified. To reach our divine potential in and through Christ.
This morning, I took my brother (whom I’m raising) to the county fairgrounds to show his chickens. He’s worked hard over the last two months to care for them: feeding them, bathing them, doing his best to protect them from the elements … and from our dog. Sadly, the first night he had them, 10 froze to death. He lost 3 more just days later. Over the first few weeks, he lost a few more to the dog or a stray cat or something. As of today, he has 9: 4 roosters and 5 hens. He is showing three males and three females today.
He was a sweaty, chatty, panicky mess this morning. He spilled their food, slipped in the mud outside and had to change, forgot his wallet and cellphone, which we had to go back home for, and then … after showing up with only his roosters … he asked me to rush him back home to get the hens he hadn’t realized he could show. His legs would not be still in the car. He jostled us about with his anxiety. “My heart is racing and pounding so hard it hurts,” he said. “I’ve never done anything like this. I can’t believe I’m going to.”
When we got there, there were trucks and trailers, cars and kids everywhere. The grounds were full of barns and livestock holding pens and we had no idea where to go. His teacher had assured him that once we pulled up, he’d be able to see where the chickens were. It wasn’t so. My insides tightened as I realized I might have to get out with him and help him find where he needed to go … in my pajamas and rockin’ bed-head. I started to pull into a parking spot and he said, “Just drop me off here. I’ll go over to the information booth and find where I need to go.”
I was so stunned I didn’t even get a chance to respond. He was already out of the car. He walked right up to the booth, asked for directions, and quickly came back to the car. He smiled from ear to ear. “I’m so excited. Open the back so I can get the chickens. please.”
Who is this confident, capable young man? Surely not the boy who used to turn his back on everyone who tried to talk to him … who used to talk through his stuffed meerkat and have hallucinations. This isn’t the boy who cried, refusing to get on escalators … the one that used to hide behind me (a full head shorter than him) … the man-child that was afraid to be alone or exposed.
This boy was on fire this morning. He was glorious. Like a butterfly having found its strength by fighting its way out of the cocoon, this boy was soaring. He said his, “I love you” and walked away from me, never looking back.
Wow. That. Right there.
That breathtaking moment of lift off when we begin to fly … that’s why God doesn’t save us from our suffering.
Each of us is bound tight in darkness at one point or another in our lives … trapped in a cocoon that threatens to suffocate us. It’s a place so lonely … crowded with our blackest fears, surrounded by a wall that keeps us from connecting with others. It’s a place that hurts, that causes every inch of us to scream in pain. And we sit there, paralyzed by it all, wondering why.
Why doesn’t God save me? Can’t He see me here? What did I do to deserve this?
We are blinded. We are so focused on the pain, the fear, the barrier we just know is going to crush us, that we cannot comprehend how we are changing: changing inside and out, developing muscles we didn’t have before, growing wings. Our very nature is evolving into something graceful and elegant and breathtakingly beautiful. We are being glorified, and we don’t even realize it.
We’re still fighting. We push and shove and bend and move anyway we can, attempting what seems impossible. We claw our way out of the darkness, feeding off an energy we didn’t know we had. We’re sure we’ll die for trying, but we don’t. We push through the pain. We call out for help …
“Please give me the strength I need to get through this, Lord.” And He does. And we break through, our wings and muscles taut, begging to take off. So we do. We jump headfirst and soar. And while we fly above it all, we have an epiphany:
“Funny how the distance makes everything seem small;And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all.”—–