I Blame God…

Grief

I love getting comments on my posts from those who happen across my blog.  Just recently a reader left a comment in response to an earlier post about how he does blame God for his singleness.  Seeing as there may well be a lot of you out there who may overtly or covertly feel the same way, I thought that it might be a useful thing to talk about again.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. Psalm 31:9 (ESV)

All of us at one time or another throughout our lives have been horribly disappointed or monumentally let down.  This does seem to be the nature of humanity:  to at some time in our lives passionately hope for something only to be eventually disappointed.  Perhaps it’s because of what we hope for, or how we express our hopes, or how persistently we cling to them against all odds that makes the disappoint in the end so intense.  I am confident that we all have, or will, have this happen to us at some point in our lives.

Now, there are 2 basic responses to disappointment:  1).  camping out at that point of disappointment and making the rest of your life about that issue, or 2).  mourning the loss of that particular hope and then moving on.

Sometimes the intesity of the hope lost precludes ones ability to move on.  You feel compelled to stay in that place of disappointment, circling it, staring at it, grieving it, wishing that it had worked out differently, creating worlds in your mind where it did work out differently.  Mourning the loss of a hope or expectation is natural and, should I even say, healthy.  I think a problem arises, though, when we refuse to let it go.  When after a while the grieving becomes a habit that we are unwilling to give up, when we literally get STUCK in this place of disappointment and sacrifice our future to mourning this lost hope.

At that point it almost seems like we WANT to be stuck in our sorrow.  That we want to warn all that pass of the vanity and futility of hope.  Is this a ‘dog in a manger type response’ (eg. if I can’t have happiness neither can you) or do we really think that hope is dangerous and best avoided?

C.S. Lewis published a little book called A Grief Observed.  In it are journal entries from the early days after he lost his wife to cancer.  Now, as I understand it, Lewis never really wanted to get married but fell into it to help a young lady and her children.  He fell in love with her though and was heart broken when she died.  Imagine his grief–he was a happy confirmed bachelor who was ‘dragged’ into marriage, discovered an unexpected joy in it, then loses it again.

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Tennyson

Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?  I do not know.  I sit firmly in the camp of those who have ‘never loved at all’ so I will have to let you read Lewis’ book, consider your own experience and come up with your own opinion on the matter.

I think that the important point to make here is that if you have been seriously disappointed in your life, being single when you dream of marriage, being alone when you dream of togetherness, being solo when all you want is a duo, remember this:  if you stay stuck in the mire of your dead hopes things will never change.  If you insist on camping out at that spot of disappointment, whatever you think of God, you will always be there, surrounded by your broken dreams and sorrows, and you will never fulfill any of your other potential.  Unless you take courage and walk out the front door you will always be looking at the same four walls.

It does take courage to walk out that door, to move on.  Especially if you’ve been stuck for some years.  To move on means that you might be disappointed again, your hopes might be shattered again.  But, then again you might find a promise fulfilled or joy in a different place than you expected.  When you move on, instead of your lost hope being a weight around your neck, it can become an extra bit of character that gives you strength and courage and that will help you to stand strong–‘I went through pain and suffering but I made it through,’ or ‘it didn’t come to STAY, it came to PASS.’

We do not need to be stuck in our sorrow.  We can choose to move on.  And we will see things that we never expected and may even find joy in that which brought us the most sorrow.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

 

Good or Best?

Illustration of the Cheshire Cat from the orig...

Illustration of the Cheshire Cat from the original edition of Alice in Wonderland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you [darn] well please.  And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.
P. J. O’Rourke

There once lived a girl named Abigail.  She was a girl much like you or I, who lived in a place much like where we live.  Abigail loved to hang out with her friends and do fun things together.

One day, Abigail’s best friend announced her engagement!  Abigail was so excited for her friend.  It was her dream to one day marry and have kids and play the happily ever after card, so she was excited for her friend.  Abigail was the Maid of Honor at the beautiful wedding that seemed like a fairy tale to her.  ‘I can barely wait my turn,’ she thought.

Not long after, her older sister announced her engagement.  Again, Abigail was the Maid of Honor and the wedding sparked excited thoughts of what her wedding would be like.

Soon her neighbour was married, then her colleague at work, her friend at the gym, her mother’s best friend’s daughter…Abigail began to feel differently at each new wedding.  Instead of excitement for the bride, she started to feel a sense of loss, a sense of disappointment.  She was still hoping to be a member of the happily-ever-after club but it seemed to be taking so long!

She waited and waited and waited.  She called out to God, ‘When is it my turn?’  All she heard was the sound of silence.

She met a young man.  He was great but eventually he moved on.  Then she met someone else who she thought was nice but then he moved on, too.  She finally found herself in a relationship with a man that she was not really sure about.  He seemed OK but for some reason she felt uneasy about him.  Then, one wonderful day, he asked her to marry him!  Finally! she thought.  She said yes immediately before she could talk herself out of it…

*   *   *   *

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.” 
―    Lewis Carroll,    Alice in Wonderland

This post is going to address a tricky issue.  It is the issue that originally triggered my desire to start this blog:  the issue of contentment and good enough vs best.

Abigail is actually a collection of about 4 or 5 Christian people that I know who have gotten married late in their lives.  Please don’t get me wrong–I am not trying to condemn people who get married.  I would offer my sincerest congratulations to those who have found the one God has created them for.  My purpose is to caution and encourage those who are waiting for that special person from God.

In the story above Abigail was getting worried–it was taking so long for her to meet someone that she could marry.  I think she got into trouble because she didn’t know where she wanted to go anymore, except that she wanted to be married.  I’ve seen this in real life especially in some of the women that I’ve known. There seems to be 2 things present in this situation–a sense of urgency and a belief that good enough is OK.

The sense of urgency translates into a lack of trust in God’s plan in your life.  I know we all have our plans for our lives (especially we Canadians!) and I know we want to feel a sense of control in our lives but remember God knows best and His timing is best, too.  As Billy Graham has said, “You are where you are because God has placed you there.”

What do I mean about ‘good enough being OK’?  Well, this is in contradistinction to ‘best’.  What has God promised us?

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11 NIV

God doesn’t want us to have ‘good enough’ but He wants to give us ‘best’.  The Creator of the universe wants you and I to have the bestI am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10b KJV

Abundant life–not just a good enough life.  Remember who you are in the eyes of God!  He gave His own Son to die for us so that we might have what He has prepared for us!

But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV

I encourage you to wait for what is the best, what has come from God.  If you take that which is good enough, you may well miss that which is best.  As I mentioned above, I have seen some Christian singles whom I suspect may have settled for ‘good enough’ and who have, in certain cases, fallen into unhappiness, heartache, divorce and even violence.  And, no, it is NOT my business to comment on whether you are settling for good enough.  It’s really none of my business at all.

However, my heart aches for those beautiful Christian singles who have to live with the consequences of being ‘happy enough’ or their life being ‘good enough’.  All I do want to do is to caution you to truly seek God’s direction when you are in these situations.  Don’t be in a hurry; don’t settle for ‘good enough’–ask God for patience and contentment and for His direction.  Seek Godly counsel.  Talk to those around you–you are not alone.  God loves you so much and only wants the best for your life that He may be glorified through you.

Please, friends, church and family of singles–help us to find God’s best for us!

Waiting

I mentioned in an earlier post that our world tends to present marriage as the only happy ending.  What this has created is the apparent feeling that we “aren’t finished” until we are married, thereby putting single people into a continuous holding pattern.

I have a dear friend, who was single into her late 20s,  who brought this to my attention.  One day I was visiting her and we started watching TV together. I couldn’t help but notice that her TV had this green hue across the entire screen, with an intermittent wide stripe of green that would appear at random intervals to add to the ambience.  The next week I noticed the same thing…so I asked her whether she had thought of getting a new one.  She said something rather curious.

“Well, Mary, I’m going to wait to buy a new TV until after I get married.”

Wh-aaa-t?

“My husband will want to have a say in which brand and type to buy.”

Of course I said, “Ahhh…is there something I don’t know about?  Are you dating now?”

“No,” she says.

OK…Hmmm…

When I asked her when she was going to give up her single bed (not a twin, a SINGLE) that she’s slept on since she was…well…a toddler…she said the same thing.

“My husband will want to have a say in the choice of bedroom set.”

First of all, he’s a guy.  Will he care about the type of ‘bedroom set’?  Secondly, what if God doesn’t lead her down that path?  Is she going to continue sleeping on a single bed, watching Martian TV until she’s 90?

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept  the one that is waiting for us. Joseph  Campbell

 Why all the waiting?  Shouldn’t we grasp each moment we’ve been given?  Carpe diem may not be from the Bible but shouldn’t we seize each moment that God has graced us with?

James 4:14 says, Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. (sorry for taking it out of context :D).

We don’t know what tomorrow brings.  Let’s get busy in the work He has given us in the place we are in now.

Now, be sure to note that I am not endorsing materialism, but that singles should not sit waiting for the world’s definition of a happy ending but should make the most of every moment.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

If you are going to wait, you should wait on the Lord!

Waiting For Tomorrow (Mandisa)

Maybe tomorrow we’ll start over
Maybe tomorrow I will finally change my ways
Said the same things yesterday
Don’t know why I’m so afraid
To let you in
To let you win
To let you have all of me

Can’t spend my whole life wastin’
Everything I know I’ve been given
‘Cause you’ve made me for so much more than
Sittin’ on the side lines
I don’t wanna look back and wonder
If good enough could’ve been better

Everyday’s a day to start over
So, why am I waiting for tomorrow

Maybe today I’ll start believing
That you’re mercy is really
As real as you say it is
It doesn’t matter who I used to be
It only matters that I’ve been set free
You rescued me you’re changing me
Jesus take everything

Can’t spend my whole life wastin’
Everything I know I’ve been given
‘Cause you’ve made for so much more than
Sittin’ on the side lines
I don’t wanna look back and wonder
If good enough could’ve been better

Everyday’s a day to start over
So, why am I waiting for tomorrow

Oh, I’m makin this my moment now
To grab the hand that’s reachin down to save me You saved me

And I’m not gonna wait until tomorrow
Oh, tomorrow