Thursday, May 04, 2006

No Thornless Roses

No one ever said being a Christian would guarantee us a bed of thornless roses and a life of happiness. This week proved that point for me. How can so much heartache befall a people at one time without their hearts bursting from the pain? I could list several things that have afflicted us as a church family over the past two months, but I'll just mention the most recent—a close friend in church, named Barb Burklo, passed away quickly from ovarian cancer and septicemia. She was just 50 years old.

There have been many tears this past week. Those rose bushes surely do have thorns. But just as they have thorns, they have roses. There has been laughter, as we remembered the hilarious pranks and sayings of our dear friend. The psalm is true that says, "Joy comes in the morning." I'm sure it could just as easily say, "Joy comes in the mourning."

Dark clouds of sadness, burdens, fatigue, disappointment, frustrations, worries, and concerns plague every Christian. Anyone who says all things are hunky-dory for Christians are looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. So how are we to deal with these times? And why should we?

Why does God let this happen?

I know the saying that it rains on the just and unjust, but I also know that God is all-powerful and He could reach down and interfere with a disease process and allow a person to escape death. When He chooses not to, does this make Him any less of a caring God?

I say, No. Not the God I love. He knows things we don't know. He could see how this disease would progress, and in His mercy He stooped down from His Heaven and scooped up His beloved Barb in His arms, rescuing her from a certain suffering. His ways are not our ways, His thoughts, not our thoughts. We try to figure out why He does things or doesn't do things based on our mindset, but we do not have all the knowledge of all times (past and future) at our disposal to make wise decisions. In fact, if we are honest, we want Him to do things based on our FEELINGS more than our FAITH.

Our God IS a loving God, He just shows love in ways we don't always understand. Face it. Who among us can claim to understand Christ dying on the cross, but that was the ultimate act of love.

So, I will not say that my Christian life is devoid of problems. Those who promise others a pain-free life as a Christian are disillusioning others. But I will say that my Christian life is filled with the Problem Solver. And the Peace Giver in the midst of the problems. I can't say the garden has no thorns, but I can focus on the fact that it DOES have roses.

And that, dear reader, is the blessing.

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