Life’s struggles offer us opportunities | Faith | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | December 24, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: December 20, 2017 at 2:39 pm
At our house, we often quote memorable lines from movies to emphasize our feelings about something. One that we repeat a good bit is from a scene in ‘The Help” where Aibileen Clark confronts Hilly Hollbrook about attempting to appear superior to everyone else, which usually involves trying to control everything and everyone around her. Aibileen asks her, “Ain’t you tired, Miss Hilly? Ain’t you tired?”
Ain’t you tired? We say that a lot at our house.
Yes. Yes, I am. ‘Tis the season for being tired and worn out.
We learned in early autumn that my husband, Scott, needed some major surgery. Specifically, a craniotomy to remove a benign brain lesion. It wasn’t an emergency, but he was encouraged to have it done before it developed into a more urgent situation.
It took a while to get it scheduled, but we were finally given a November surgery date. The doctor told us to expect a few days in the hospital and a least a month of recovery at home.
We made preparations and did as much as we could before the surgery. We were praying for and expecting a positive outcome and recovery, but we still reserved a margin of time afterwards to deal with any uncertainties. We cleared our calendars for November and December. Any Thanksgiving and Christmas activities would be decided upon based on how Scott felt at the time. It was a relief, and a little disappointing too.
As we began to let those around us know what was going on, a good friend asked Scott, “How do you keep from getting mad at God?”
He asked that because this wasn’t Scott’s first craniotomy. Or his second. This would be number three. I asked the neurosurgeon if he had ever performed this same surgery three times on any one patient before. He shook his head, no. Only God knows why Scott would have to endure having the grey matter of his brain seeing the light of day three times. I can understand wanting to question God about it.
I’m also tempted to consider and weigh in with something about living an upright life, trying to avoid sinful behavior, attempting to do good and serve God. Someone who lives that way doesn’t really deserve having to do this three times, do they? Wouldn’t just once be enough?
When you experience something more than once, you gain experience, but you also develop perspective. Having been side by side to this event three times now, I’ve come to believe that God sees each and every one of these kinds of human struggles as opportunities for Him to prove His love and faithfulness to us. And ours to Him.
We’re now on the other side of that third surgery and so far, the recovery has been positive. Any new perspective I’ve gained this time is related to how close God is in the midst of times like this. I could hardly whisper a word or blink my eyes without recognizing something or someone that reminded me of God’s love and care. Those reminders would still have been there regardless of any pathology results.
Besides movie quotes, we also sometimes quote Bible verses around our house to emphasize a particular sentiment. The verse I’ve been repeating a lot lately? It’s Job 16:7a.
“Surely, God, you have worn me out…”
I know how you feel, Job.
Job had 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys, and 3,000 camels stolen from him on the very same day all 7,000 of his sheep were killed along with all 10 of his children. Then he woke up the next day with a debilitating skin condition. Job was one of the good guys who feared God and shunned evil. Still, there probably wasn’t any other man on earth at the time that had experienced so much trouble and loss in such a short amount of time.
Job’s wife tried to convince him that death would be better than living in this misery. He responded by asking her if we should only accept good things from God, and not trouble as well? Job was worn out, but still clinging to God in spite of the trouble.
If we live in the world, there will be trouble. Jesus spoke those very words to his disciples just before he was arrested, tortured and killed. Trouble indeed. Not even Jesus escaped it.
But then, in the same breath that Jesus said there would be trouble, he finished by saying, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:32.
Overcome the world. It’s what He was born to do. This year I’m more grateful than ever to celebrate the birthday of the One that overcomes the trouble in this world and brings peace to all of us that are worn out from it.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14
(Nancy Davis attends First Baptist Church of Walterboro, where her husband Scott, is the minister of music. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)