So many times over the past year I have sat down, written a post, and then deleted it all. I write but at the end of it I am disappointed. My words proving to be insufficient, at least to me. Trying to articulate thoughts has been a frustration..
Over the last few years I have read multiple stories and books about those in the
persecuted church, about those who were/are in prison, about those who survived genocide, about those who survived the trauma of humiliation, about people who kept their faith in the midst of
horrific evil. I have read biographies, auto biographies, accounts of miracles, stories of the Gospel spreading through concentration camps and prisons...stories of people keeping their dignity, and sanity, and faith in the darkest places of suffering. My eyes wildly taking in every word reading about people who painfully lost everything because of the unjust choices of another man or the corruption of their government.
It dawned on me the other day while I was driving my car that over the last few years I have not just sought these stories out but I have frantically sought these stories out. why? I realized then that I have been searching for something. I realized then that I have had this subtle gnawing question deep in my heart for quite sometime now and I suppose I was searching for a remedy. I so badly desired to know if people could keep their hearts soft and unoffended at God in the face of immense injustice and tragedy because my own faith, I felt, proved to be faulty when it came to this. One disappointment in my life and there I go, questioning God. But more than that...my own experiences with loss and grief I have felt produced a hardness of heart within me towards Him and I have been grieved over that. Something has been crying out within me, "teach me!". Teach me what you know, teach me about humility, teach me about love when all seems lost, teach me how to have an unoffended heart towards Him no matter what...and I guess I was thinking maybe I could be taught through these stories by the people who have lived to tell them.
I wanted to know how people kept their faith in God's love even though they suffered torture, loss, devastation, a concentration camp, the heartbreak of betrayal, humiliation, a dark prison cell, solitary confinement, death, and deep heartbreak. Is it possible to not let one's heart become embittered against God and man in those circumstances? Is it possible for people to keep their hearts soft and unoffended at God in places like that? Surely the Sunday school answer is yes. But when you have been touched by those things yourself simple answers and cliches will not satisfy. I wanted to read about people who had actually lived it, I needed know that it really was possible. Of course I know it is... but I went on a search anyways..
"with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (matt 19:26).
In all the stories I have read all the characters who display great courage and strength all have something in common. Humility. Their stories have taught me to embrace mystery through humility, and without humility we will never be able to relate or get to God. Only through humility can we trust Him at all times with all things. Embracing Him, the mystery, through humility. Those who have lived to tell about it afterward have become some of my personal heroes, those who have kept the faith. Those who have been through the toughest of circumstances only to come out more loving and soft and tender then before. They truly are my heroes and my teachers. They also have another thing in common, that they have no regrets. they all realized at the end of their lives that walking with Christ really did prove to be the greatest adventure full of danger, full of risk, but also full of fulfillment and true love. :)
The love I have read about in these books is not a love laced with sarcasm, nor with criticism,
nor with conditions, but a love that loves just because it's love! If that
kind of love exists how can we not be ruined, wrecked, and undone by it? Surely I have been and will be again.