I've been thinking a lot lately about what we, as Christians, are to do with sadness, disappointment and plain ol' mistreatment by others. I'm sure we could all come up with a few textbook answers, but when it really happens and hurts you on a deep level...how do you work from the pain of someone hurting you to a place of peace, acceptance and trust in God's plan?
A recent blog post by a dear friend caught my eye. He talked of the Israelites grumbling in the desert. Upon ending the post, he says:
"God is good. God is wise. God is sovereign. What God has provided is better than anything we could even imagine. Let's be satisfied with what God gives and stop grumbling about what we imagine God has withheld."
Let me tell you, I'm upset about "what I imagine God has withheld". Mr Incredible and I sacrificed lots of emotion and time into his old company to build it to where it now- And we invested quite a bit of money last year in hiring new guys for our territory. We're in a different state because of his job, we gave up vacation, family time, etc to finally grow it to where it would produce well for us...and we were cut off with no say and a closed ear to reconciliation. No heads up, no performance review, no nothing that would have told Mr Incredible he was doing something wrong that put his job at risk. On the contrary, we just stood weeks before, being congratulated for his area having the second highest profitability in the company. The last six months things had gone soooo well-I finally had more family time with Mr Incredible and we were relaxing just a little financially. I almost *gasp* purchased my first pair of non-thrift store, but rather consignment, brand name jeans. Frugal Megan was loosening up! So when I look at the future I thought we had earned (uh oh! Entitled much?) and saw it suddenly gone with a proverbial desert in it's place....well let's just say I had some emotions to deal with.
Thus so far, I have not felt angry with God, just the earthly man who missed my husband's character and left our lives confused and deflated. But all along I've acknowledged that my grumbling against him is indeed grumbling against God, and have battled with it. It helps me not be angry when I remember that from the very moment my husband uttered the words "[My boss] is asking me to resign" I felt like his old boss was like Pharaoh; a man of God's choosing, with a hardened heart against us. This was somehow God's plan for us, even if it was shocking, confusing and seemingly undeserved. Um...and extremely disappointing. Disappointing because we threw ourselves into this company for 6 years and we were only just beginning to enjoy the fruits of our labor- now someone else gets to reap from our hard work. Our hopes were not to get rich, but instead to take advantage of an opportunity to richly bless others. Sure, we had high hopes of doing some home improvements, but mostly of paying off this house and giving our money away. I think of an example I heard from Dave Ramsey of a couple giving an adopting family $10K to fund their adoption. That type of giving is what my heart was set on...that is what my heart was hoping for. That is what makes me choose, everyday, to live simply. As my cousin reminded me recently -
"The Challenge: Live simply, so others can simply live."
My anger comes from losing what we had worked for. From the years I spent encouraging Mr Incredible to work extra hours, take long trips, and doing things outside of his job description to bless the company, and it all seems to have meant nothing. And now here we are in the desert....with a promise land of milk and honey in heaven, of course, but not necessarily on this earth.
And so I've grumbled. And as we can see spelled out in the bible, to grumble against God is to sin against Him. Why do we grumble & sin, my friend asks? Well I can share my answer: I grumble because it is easier to sin than it is to grieve. It's easier for me to be mad at someone else, my husband's old boss, my husband, or God himself- Than it is for me to let myself feel sad, disappointed and let down. To just cry and ask God to comfort me. To sit there in my mess of disappointment and be broken. Broken hearted Megan. I've come to know her quite well and wasn't ready to see her again. But God deeply loves broken hearted Megan. Jesus says she's blessed!
Matthew 5:2-6: "And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
AAAAnd then there's trusting God for the future. I need to rest in the fact that if we're supposed to be able to financially help missionaries, adopting families and the like, God will provide. What do I need to worry about? Nothing, save whether or not I'm loving and trusting Him.
So this is where I am today. May God continue to help me trust in His Good & Ultimate Plan- Even when it doesn't feel good for me.