“Yet this I call to mind and therefore have hope; because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed. For his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness.”-Lamentations 3:21-24
A couple blog posts ago I mentioned that God was teaching me to be soft. I wrote about it in 2014 in my novel. I felt that phrase come up time and time again. I feel it in me. I wanted to focus solely on that. Today I opened my journal to find notes for a bible study I’m leading next week, and I ended up looking at entries from back in August. The passage from Lamentations I included above was written in red pen. It caught my attention because just last night, I journaled about the exact same verse. I had no idea that it was a continuous theme.
For context, back in August, I was euphoric. I was high on life. I was working at Wrigley Field. I had just recently started talking to my best guy friend. I was doing well in school. I was living the dream. And this is what I wrote:
“I am so thankful. When I really stop and think about my life and how much crap God has dragged me through, I really have to stand in awe. Because there were so many trials I didn’t think I would make it through and too many times I just wanted it to be over. But I wanted to write this so that when the darkness and fear inevitably come back, I will feel strengthened. (I probably won’t listen but it’s worth a shot.)
I’m so thankful for all the trials that made me strong and the boy that broke my heart and the fear that almost consumed me. I pray that these things don’t make me isolated. I pray that they would make me soft. I pray that they would make me compassionate. That they would keep molding me.”
It’s funny that I had no idea what I was asking for when I prayed that for myself.
I didn’t know that in order to be soft, I would have to be hurt.
I didn’t know that in order to be filled with compassion, I had to become empty.
I didn’t know that in order to be molded, I would first need to fall apart.
I had no idea what I was asking God to do to me. But I am starting to understand that now. Shusaku Endo says it well in the conclusion of his novel, Silence. “Everything that had taken place until now had been necessary to bring him to this love.”
I think all the pain in my life was necessary. All this pain that I’m currently feeling is necessary. Yeah, it doesn’t make it hurt any less, but I think it has a purpose. We like to think we want these things, but we just want God to wake us up one morning with a new heart and a new outlook. We oftentimes forget that these lessons have to be learned the hard way. That passage in Lamentations that I mentioned earlier? Yeah, it goes on to say “Let him sit alone in silence for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust.” That’s where I’ve been lately. Face to ground; biting the dirt. God is faithful, but it is hardly ever in the way we want Him to be.
I was told recently that my little brother asked his Awana group to pray for me. His exact words were, “Pray that God would do something great in Faith’s life.” It was so beautiful I want to cry every time I think of that. But even then, I think about the implications of that. I think God is answering that prayer, but I don’t think it was in the way I thought it would be answered. When I heard that prayer about a month ago, I thought the answer would be healing. I thought it would be that God would make me okay again. I thought that I would be soft and that once I understood how to love again, God would save the day and make all things right. I foolishly thought the “something great” would happen in the changing of my circumstances.
But God chose to answer that prayer in a different way.
He chose to let something great stem from the ashes of my broken heart. He didn’t want to change my circumstances because He wanted to change me. He wanted me to give up the false idea of control that I had. He wanted me to let go of my independence and my self righteousness and my hero complex. He wanted me to be at a place where I was ready to listen. “Maybe the state of having nothing and feeling so used up, maybe that’s sort of the state God wants me in.” He is faithful to me in the good times and bad. Whether or not He decides to change my situation, He is still good and His compassions will still never fail.
I have come to the painful conclusion that God must be about to do something great in my life. Because my suffering is too significant to just be suffering. And the place where my heart is at has made me so weak that the only strength I’m running on is not from myself. It can’t be. That sounds really over dramatic considering my situation really isn’t that bad, but nonetheless; these are the things I think about.
I am at such a crazy time. I feel like every second I am changing and growing and learning. All I want to do is talk about it and create art about it and think and journal. I want to show people this mess of a life that I have and the beauty that God can make of it.
The last quote I’ll drop is from a song called “There May Be Tears.” The chorus says “Children, don’t worry, take my hand. I’m taking you down this road you don’t understand yet. There may be tears while you’re waiting for these answers. You can see the picture but I can see the future.”
I don’t understand yet. And God never promises that there won’t be tears down the road He leads you. I’ve had many of tears. Actually, I’ve cried every day this week and last week. Every day. That’s so many tears. But that’s okay. Because my heavy heart is making me soft. Because all this pain is going to turn into something great. I don’t know what it is yet, but I feel it coming. I feel it in my bones. I don’t think I’m going to be the same person ever again.