Old journals—I’m going through a box of them today. Often, reading back through my old musings, collections of random quotes, scribblings of poems or events of the day make me smile. Remember back to old days, the “way I used to think.” Most will remain there, in dusty journals. But a few excerpts are worth sharing over the next few weeks, lessons gleaned or questions asked, the very things we all experience discovering what being an adult, a woman, a Christian really means.
I scribbled this in my journal in 2016, my first year of Bible college. I still vividly remember having a dream the night before about playmobiles, the little plastic people my sisters and I grew up playing with. For some reason, that dream started me thinking. I’ll be the first to admit: the analogy is cheesy. But sometimes, isn’t it ordinary things we see and touch everyday that spark thoughts on the deeper things of life?
“You’ve seen the playmobile box covers. Families placed perfectly to the background of cartoon flowers and trees. The smallest plastic utensils arranged as no chubby finger could grasp. It becomes almost an entirely different–a romantic realm of pasted on smiles and idealistic surroundings.
And the Christian life? Somehow we moderns tend to cover our marketing with glossy pictures, and hiding if not omitting the fine print. The fine print’s not so fine when it comes to the Bible. If we’re not shocked out of our senses at Christ’s first words: “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” we’re sure to shake our heads in wonder when we start getting to the core: “in the world you will have tribulation” and “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of heaven.”
But we don’t shake our heads. And that’s the problem. Somehow, we’ve managed to not only idealize the Christian life as if it had no trials, but when we finally come around to recognizing the all-too-evident difficulty around us, idealizing the trials as well. …
Knowing Christ comes at a cost. Indeed, a heavy one if it weren’t for the surpassing love of Christ that pales all else.
“The Christian life brings trials,” my mom reminded me when I learned a few fellow students were facing family and health crises. And I shouldn’t have been surprised at my Bible professor’s reaction to a recent concussion that halted all my school efforts for a time: “I’m sorry for you, but really I’m not all that surprised. God has his ways of working on us.”
The needs and crises around me seem to escalate daily. A friend’s miscarriage, ongoing health struggles, deaths of other’s loved ones. The list seems endless. …
In the end, isn’t this what we asked for? In fact, not only are these an expected part of the Christian life, they are the very foundation in which the knowledge of God is laid.
Either I love Him, or not at all.
At some point, I can’t shirk from reality. Though it can seem scary, there’s something precious, even freeing, about surrendering yourself entirely to Christ’s plans without looking back. I am His, whatever the cost.
But we can’t focus on the here and now. The worst of earth’s trials dissipate in comparison with the beauty of Christ’s face. Though we may hardly run into his arms but rather stumble, bearing the scars from many a fire before, yet all will be forgotten at the sound of His voice: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Like Master, like servant; if we desire to know His power, how can we not fellowship in His sufferings?”