Life on Earth is not about life on Earth. A friend of mine made that comment yesterday and I haven't been able to shake it. It is so easy to get caught up in trying to figure life out, avoid pain, have the right things in place etc. and forget that life here on this side of heaven is not about life on Earth.
I've had a few discussion with various friends and mentors about pain recently. Lord knows this last year has dealt me a fair share of it. Unfortunately pain is unavoidable for all of us. And one of the main challenges I have faced through my own experience with pain and disappointment has been to fight the urge to let my circumstances determine what I believe to be true. For me, the last year has looked a lot like questioning God- "is God who he says he is? Does God even care?" These are not fun questions to ask and it is the first time in life where I have felt the urge to ask them.
The thing about struggling with doubt in the Lord is that it makes it nearly impossible for me to trust him. If God let me down before.... how can I count on him? The result has been that I have tried to figure life out on my own too much and that is a heavy burden to carry. I wind up empty and exhausted. Things that should be life giving end up leaving me feeling drained because I was placing my hope in those things to fill my soul rather than letting the Lord do that. It is ok to hope for something, as long as your hope is not in that thing.
But if life on Earth is not about life on earth why do we wear ourselves out so much trying to make all the puzzle pieces fit? Life on Earth is about the gospel. Bringing the good news of the Lord and the life to come to others. If we can remember that the Lord holds all things together and trust that he will work the things in this life for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28) then maybe we will be able to stop expecting the things in THIS life to fill or hearts. I think its only when we let go of that expectation that we will find the beauty in life this side of heaven. If we can take the pressure off of our relationships, jobs, experiences, etc only then wont we begin living those things to their full? I think so.
There is an old Jennifer Knapp song that I've been listening to for months which says "When nothing satisfies you, hold my [God's] hand" Maybe thats all we really need to do, trust the lord to iron out the details of life and remember that good or bad- this side of heaven is temporary. The worry wont be on us to figure things out- so we are left free to enjoy the moments of beauty the Lord gives us. Our real life is still waiting on us and in the meantime let's be patient and see what work the Lord wants to do here in preparation for that day to come.