I was talking to an older and much wiser Christian man a while back, and he was telling me about some pretty overwhelming “waves” that he had experienced. Basically, knocked him flat… did not see them coming. But then he made this remarkable statement. He said, “Looking back on it……..I wouldn’t change it if I could.” Really, I said, WHY? It was, he said, because at some point, I started to shift my focus, and it stopped being about, “God, what are You doing to me?” and it started being about, “God, what are You doing in me?”
It’s a bit like this: “Imagine you have a child that is about to be born, and just before the birth you’re handed a script of that child’s life. And you’re given an eraser and ten minutes to edit the child’s story. What would you delete? What would you erase?” You start reading, and you find out your child has a special need. And what’s going to be easy for most kids is going to be difficult for yours. Well, you don’t want that, and you quickly erase the special need. You find out, as your child gets a little bit older, your child is especially strong-willed, and it’s going to cause quite a few problems. And you don’t want that, so you erase that part of their personality. You see your child in university going through a difficult breakup, and it creates depression and two years of loneliness. And you don’t want that for your child, so you erase that breakup. And your child is diagnosed with cancer and has to go through surgery and chemo and radiation. You…you definitely erase that……. of course, you erase that. But what if? What if by doing this you just erased the challenge that teaches your child the strength of God? What if you just erased the struggle that would give the rest of their life purpose? What if you erased the pain that would have taught them compassion? What if you erase the very suffering that was going to bring them to salvation? What if you erase the wave that would have thrown them onto the Rock of Ages? You don’t know! There is so much that we don’t see from where we sit.
James says (1:3-4), “For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” That means your faith has a chance to deepen. “So let it grow…..” Stop running from it. Stop fighting so hard against it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, and let it grow. “…for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”
Yes the drum beat carries on and “stuff happens”, but we (as chaplains also) have work to do, we still need to run to win the prize – and to be Jesus – because as 2 Corinthians 5:20 says: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
Until He comes,
Myles Waldron (IOPC – Coordinator)
“to get through we have to go through”