HAPPY OR WHOLLY HOLY?

25 06 2012

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The other night my wife asked me if I was happy.  I answered quickly with a pronounced, “No!” As a matter of painful fact, I haven’t been happy for any length of time in years!  Now don’t get me wrong.  I have had my moments of genuine joy over the quickly passing months- but as for being truly content, I can honestly say that I have not experienced a sustained euphoria in quite a while.  And I am not proud of that last sentence- just talking truth!

This is quite the quandary for me because I live to laugh.  I gravitate to comedy!  I have felt the cleansing and healing flow of a deep and invigorating belly whopper!  And I know that it is my being divinely designed and equipped with a working sense of humor that has kept me alive! But I have to admit that a larger percentage of my hours in this past decade have been spent battling a deep depression and a devastating despair- complete with an overwhelming sense that God has abandoned me and left my building.  I ache with a daily hungering to grasp a handle on why things have happened in my journey as they have and I beg the Lord to give me some kind of sign that would aid me with a renewed and personal purpose and a practical assurance that my life is not some kind of cruel joke.  For an internal optimist it is rather deflating to always be on the wrong end of the proverbial shoe dropping!  It makes me want to go barefoot and I would if I wasn’t given such ugly feet!

Please change the scenery God, this story is getting old!  How come my dark night of the soul has to be prolonged to match the span of an Alaskan winter? Will I ever be given the room to just be free so I can be me again?  I feel like I am running with one of those bungee cords attached to my behind!  I bust out of the starting gate with the appearance that I am gaining ground only to be caught and flung wildly back to the beginning in a moment of no control!  I feel like an American prisoner of war in an enemy camp during World War II.  I know that I am on the winning side- but the enemy won’t stop beating on me until he is finally stopped for good.  I am not going to give up on my faith for I know that it is only the grace of God that allows me the ability to navigate my way through these foggy seasons.  I just long for the time that I know I will be able to move and breathe and exercise my spirit with no hold back pressures again!  It will come.  I don’t know how and I obviously don’t know when- but I know it will get here! 

And if you are worried about me, don’t be.  I have discovered that I have lots of company in the men and women who battled through their own issues in the pages of the scriptures.  Have you ever really read Jeremiah’s tale?  If you dig within the lines that he rattles so deliciously beautiful in the journals of his soul- one might wonder if he ever smiles at all!  It is a hard life and yet he knows that the circumstances that pound upon his body all around him don’t rob him of the steady supply of faithfulness, compassion and daily mercies to his soul!  He knows God’s love never fails even though everything else does.  Jeremiah is not one of the present day feel good saints.  He has been field tested and whatever he says- I hang on to because I know that he knows how it feels.  You also get the same message when you take a slower trip through David’s Psalms and Habakkuk’s Sonnets.  I think that somewhere along the line we were sold a bill of goods that lied to us and deceived us into believing that if God was really good, He would owe us an easy walk that would feature us tip toeing through the tulips amidst the garden of earth.  But that close and peaceful walk was defied and denied when we disobeyed the Lord in the Garden of Eden and when our sin entered into the picture- it was no longer a picnic we were promised- but it became a rescue where He would have to save us from being devoured in the poppy fields of delusion before we could ever step foot in His Emerald City!  God has been there for me by always staying there with me through the deaths of my children Nicholas and Benjamin and the miscarriages of the other three babies that Terri and I never got to meet.  He has carried me as a Father would pick up His own son, as I continue to miss my Dad daily since he died in 2000, a victim of such an ugly bout of cancer. The other night I had such a vivid dream of Heaven where I actually got to enter into a party room of reunion and I didn’t wake up until after I got to cling to my Dad once again.  And I knew as I woke up that God was reminding me that as lousy as this life can be some times- my story won’t end in defeat! 

I guess what I am trying to communicate through this weekly outpouring of my precious two cents worth of wisdom is that maybe the goal is not to be happy through it all- but more to not lose the hope that God is making me holy in it all!  There is a depth to me that I never had in my early days of Christianity.  I can say that my commitment to Jesus has been road tested and battle proven!  It has survived what my critics once pronounced would do me in for good.  The old song we once sang told me that “Happiness is to know the Savior,” but I tend to now disagree.  I think it is better said that, “Survival from the battling barrages of life’s bombshells is to have Jesus know you!”  I still love to smile but I do know this and I say it from the bottom of my heart and that is my laughs these moments are not cheap but treasured times that are almost hors devours of what lies ahead in that state of reunion!  

“O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be…”  George Matheson

  

      

 

   

 

 


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5 responses

25 06 2012
Mary Beth Clark

I am speechless, blessed, humbled, encouraged, excited !! O God, if only more of us kids could be so honest ! love you – in CHRIST!!! 🙂 MBC

25 06 2012
Loralei Brown

Rudy,

I totally understand what you are saying and we’ve had plenty of bad things happen in our lives. However, I think the Body of Christ has to turn from counting their hardships (over and over) to counting their blessings over and over! Most certainly, we have had hard times and probably will continue to but we have also have many blessings and times we have been specifically blessed.

I am glad you have an outlet here to share your real feelings and I don’t condemn that but it seems like most of what I hear or read in Christian circles, in books, concerts (songs), magazines, the pulpit, etc. is sad and defeatist. I try not to let it get me down, but that makes me sad! 😉 Jesus came to give us life, life more abundant. Let’s talk about that more!

I am not criticizing you because I have to practice it more often myself! I think life wouldn’t seem so bad if we continually did as Paul said in Philippians 4:8 –
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” I change the word “think” to “dwell” because honestly, that is what we do! We either dwell on the negative or the positive. Also, if we continually do this I know we can live in JOY and not just happiness! Our circumstances might not change, but we will.

I think we give the devil a lot more credit than we give God and we are supposed to be believers! It seems simplistic but I know from experience that it works!

I have also been thinking a lot about not holding on to the “victim mentality” that we often get into to. We need to let go of the past and give all our sorrows completely and finally to Jesus and continually focus on our blessings.

One thing I have been thinking about is pain. Many people have chronic pain like myself but if I get a negative thought, I refuse it! I am not a victim of the pain. My life if much more than pain, or loss or other peoples’ craziness, or whatever ill comes my way. So I try to focus on other things. Though I am well aware there are many times that physical pain overtakes me, I still have control of my thoughts! I just have to take it! It’s my choice to renew my mind and resist the devil, or not!

Also, just because David or any other Old Testament character handled a circumstance or viewed it one way, doesn’t mean it’s the right way for us. We have the Holy Spirit. They didn’t.

I wish I had developed my thoughts more but I really have something I have to do today and just wanted to let you know my rather unorganized thoughts as I think you will get my drift.

I think I am preaching to myself! 😉 I am thankful that God is really good!

God bless you, Rudy!

25 06 2012
Kaikuapapa Wozniak

This was the message I needed today. ,You see Pastor Rudy I walk beside the Lord everyday, knowing in my heart he will bring me through whatever the problem is at the moment. Your messages always give me peace and a little thought to ponder each week. Through you I am reassured in my faith.

25 06 2012
Deidra Riggs

There was a time I would have just skimmed over this story. I would have said a quick prayer for you when I got to the end, and then I’d be off to the next thing. But, over the past decade, I’ve lived this very story. This is my story, too. Not every detail, but I know this dark night that goes on and on and on… Now, my heart resonates with this story, so that I can’t just skim it because I know it’s true. I know God loves us enough that He doesn’t always choose to protect us from adversity. Thanks for telling it real. Thank you.

1 07 2012
Megan Willome

Sending you a great big nod and much encouragement. Plus, that photo of you playing in the fountain says more than you may realize.

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