It has been a rough couple of weeks, but I have learned something. In everything that happens, good or bad, God has a purpose. I went through a time for a few months where I didn't want to talk to Him. I didn't want to know what His plan was for this, or try to see the good in each situation. I wanted answers, and I wanted them yesterday. I wanted to know why I had such a strong desire for something, but He denied it. That kind of pain flabbergasted me. I felt like the outcast kid on the playground, and God said "see what you could have and what you want so badly, but I am not going to give that to you- Ha Ha". In the past year I have seen so many things happen to wonderful people, God-fearing, faithful people. How could a loving God allow all of this pain and hurt. How could a perfect God allow such horrible, imperfect things to happen? None of it made sense to me. I don't know that many people knew I felt this way, but I did. I am a pretty good pretender that things are fine.
Around that time my husband and I head about a relatively inexpensive concert at our Church and decided to get tickets. It was an "unplugged" concert, which we usually enjoy no matter who it is. Well, in preparation we started to listen to a few of his songs (it is Jeremy Camp by the way) and I hear the songs 'I Will Walk By Faith' and "I Still Believe". At first I was a little put off. I have heard of other artists who have written similar songs but who have really not faced a life altering trial. To me it seems like it is so easy to say that you need to trust in God during the good times and the bad when you really haven't faced a trial that alters your life. You know, those moments that forever after are the "Before this date" and "After this date" that fully redefine who you are. (Note: I am not saying that these songs are wrong or bad in any way, but just ring a little hollow at times - Kind of like the person who says "it is just God's will" to someone after a funeral. Very true, but not so comforting at the time. )
By the time the concert came around I had started to become bitter about a lot of things, and could not have told you the last time I prayed if I had to do so to save my life. But I still went, and what I heard that night was about where these songs came from. They came from the pits of despair, a life altering trial. They came from a a place of pain and asking God "Why?". In the matter minutes my perspective on that concert, that artist and God, changed in a story of pain and hurt, but most of all love. A love between a husband and wife, overshadowed by love from God. (Check out jeremycamp.com for the full story http://jeremycamp.com/walk.html) That became an "After this date" day for me. I have listened to those songs (and others) for weeks, and have slowly found that God has been waiting for me all this time. He has waited for me to crawl into His lap with my broken spirit and bruised heart and cry out all my tears. (Mr. Camp, if you ever read this please know that Melissa's life touched mine even so many years later)
So where am I now? Still no where near where I should be, but well on my way. There are still days when I ask why, but I think that is the human side of me. It has taken me almost two months to get to this point, but looking back I am grateful for that time. I have learned that there is a purpose in whatever God has planned. Just because I can't see it doesn't mean it's not there. I've learned that I am a prodigal child, over and over again, and God has the feast prepared each time I return. I am not at a point of "Pure Joy", but a lot closer......
James 1:2-4, “ Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”