I talked with a friend recently who was such a good girl; she did everything right, and her husband still turned out to be sleeping with prostitutes.
She is so mad at God because if she hadn’t stayed a virgin like church had told her to, she probably could have recognized the signs that said her husband’s sexual habits were a foreshadowing of deception. Five years after the divorce she still can’t bring herself to think about what happened, or anywhere near forgiveness.
Because it hurts too much.
I understand. And I think a lot of us are in situations like this. We do everything right, but the world takes advantage of that vulnerability and screws us over bad. Car accidents, rapists, scamming beggars, deceptive pastors. It all can just ruin us, even when we’re just doing what we were told we were supposed to do.
And you know, this may seem petty and unrelated, but as I listened to her, my novel crossed my mind. I have spent twenty years and countless hours crafting and re-crafting this story. And it is very likely that at the end of the day, maybe just a few of my friends will read it and pretend they liked it. I mean it may go nowhere. That seems pretty unfair. I am working hard, REALLY HARD at what I feel like God gave me the gifting to do. And to think all that time was a waste. What a shameful waste. Maybe I would raise a family if I wasn’t trying so hard on this novel.
But then I think about that moment when we open our eyes, after death, and we are standing before Jesus. And I don’t think it will really matter as much to us too much what the cutthroat book market is like, or what her ex-husband did to her. I think what will matter is what we did with our lives. That is what will suddenly be on display before us as we know He can see all of everything we’ve ever done with the situations we were given.
And what will matter is that despite the outcomes this horrible world gave us, did we do our best to make the best decision we knew how to make at the time, with the strength we had, in response to the situations that came to us? I think Jesus would say, “I’m really, really sorry he did that to you.” or “I wish that person didn’t shut down your dreams. But that is their problem they will have to reckon with when they stand before me.”
And I take a small amount of solace thinking that despite what misfortune come my way, it is in my hands to decide how I will respond to those things.
He might say, “I know what you experienced. I know the horrible things that were done to you. But I saw what you did. And you were faithful with what you were given. You have shone so brightly in a world that is so dark. Well done, child.”
I know that’s probably not much consolation here on earth…
Unless we could actually really believe it. But if we really believed it, perhaps it would change how we hold our heads in sucky situations, and where we find joy, even when the world takes our good deeds and uses them to scorn and crucify us.
That’s when it matters what we believe.
Raw Spoon, 4-9-16