If I had to guess…and it truly is only a guess…I would venture to say that a lot of people would give Jesus the #LOVE. Like if you and I were playing Family Feud, it would end up in the top 5 “People Said” categories. From the time we were young’uns, we have had it drilled into us, “Jesus loves you….this I know…for the Bible tells me so.”
However, the older we get, the more it becomes a conundrum. If Jesus loves me, why is my life so hard? This sure doesn’t look, feel, sound, or taste like love. Unfortunately, not many of us live a life that unfolds like a Disney fairy-tale with everything going our way. So where is the disconnect?
If we take a look back to the very beginning, in Genesis 2:16, the answer is revealed. The Lord God told Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden.” You are free. There is this thing called free will and as a result, choices are made. Good choices. Bad choices. In Genesis 3, we see Eve tempted by the serpent, “Did God really say? Did God really say you should not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?” Eve went ahead and exercised her free will and took a bite…and then Adam also.
The rest is history. Sin entered the world. Passed down from one human being to another. It is our DNA. As a result, we will suffer. Sometimes because of our own wrongdoing. Sometimes because of the wrongdoing of others. And, well, sometimes because we now live in a world that is “cursed because of you [Adam & Eve}… It will grow thorns and thistles. (Genesis 3:17-18)
Thorns and Thistles…
In the past five months, we had watched a hurricane toss our community upside down and wreak havoc on our home. With large chunks of our home in disarray + a leaky roof, we were in the wait for a second insurance adjustment. In the meanwhile, we were incredibly sick and may I say CRANKY! Our lives had become extraordinarily unexpected…to say the least.
One of my daughter’s favorite book series by Lemony Snicket bears the title, A Series of Unfortunate Events. It is a turbulent tale of the Bauderlaire orphans who go unplaced after an arsonous house fire. Their misfortunes continue as their Uncle Olaf attempts to rob the children from their rich inheritance through a rampage of devious methods. One of my favorite quotes says,
“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”
― Lemony Snicket
Plain and simple: life doesn’t always go according to our liking. We have an Enemy who is like the waiter bringing us things we never like. Our insurance adjustment came through in Month 6 and we boxed up our belongings and moved everything to storage. Due to the shortage of housing, we moved our family into a hotel room for the next 3+ months. It was no vacation. Trust me. But when the going gets tough, please remember:
- Our lives will be unpredictable so we will put our hope in a God who never changes.
- Our faith will be challenged so we no longer have to be in control.
- Our trust will grow stronger as we surrender, bit by bit, day by day.
- Our God will not be thwarted; His purpose will always prevail.
So, back to square one, if you could give Jesus a #…what would it be?