That is why, for Christ’s sake,
I delight in weaknesses,
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
—2 Corinthians 12:10
If you asked me the single greatest lesson I’ve learned over the past five, difficult years, this is what I’d say, at least in part:
Life is hard. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not good.
In spite of the marriage mishaps and parenting struggles. And in spite of the spiritual battles and cancer battles. Yes, this life is far more than I bargained for. Yes, it’s hard, even excruciating some days. It’s complicated, twisted, and often my heart and mind feel tangled up like an impossible string of holiday lights.
But there’s beauty here, too. Especially for those who believe in a bigger God.
I can’t control or know or imagine what tomorrow holds. Neither can you, try as you might to pretend otherwise. That’s the reality. You’re undone. I am, too.
But there’s a greater reality. Undone is beautiful. Because “undone” sits within reach of a powerful God.
But how do we find the beauty through all the tears? How do we uncover glimmers of light even in the dark? How do we remind ourselves that life is good even when it seems everything is falling apart? Begin by hanging on to these truths:
1. God never promised a perfect life.
In fact, Jesus said very much the opposite. “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33a) Not a suggestion or possibility. Instead, a guarantee. Suffering and struggle are unavoidable for all of us. Although painful, our difficult circumstances are not unique to us. Even more reassuring, as much as we may be surprised by our undone circumstances, God is not. And that brings me to a second hope-filled truth . . .
2. God promised to be with us, always.
Right after Jesus promised a life of trouble, he rushed to reassure: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b) The undone life doesn’t get the last word. God gets the last word. “And surely I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Until the day Jesus returns and turns this broken world filled with broken people whole again, He promised He’d be with us. Just as a child finds comfort in thunderstorm when nestled in the arms of his mom and dad, we can endure frightening circumstances when we remember the truth of the fact that we are not alone.
In the strongest storm, God holds us in stronger arms. Always.
3. Pain is a powerful teacher.
If you’ve ever wished for wisdom, if you’ve ever prayed for insight and maturity and strength, don’t be surprised when struggle becomes the means to answering your prayer.
Only the most difficult circumstances provide the most powerful opportunities for growth. Those men and women throughout the Bible that showed the greatest influence and capacity for leadership were the same men and women who endured the most impossible circumstances.
It is our weakness that creates beautiful opportunities for displays of God’s strength. I know it’s not easy, but open your heart to the possibility that your struggles might actually be hiding a sweet gift.
4. The best is yet to come.
Struggle has a way of narrowing our focus, blinding us to the beauty of what will be in our preoccupation with what is. But if you believe in a loving God and His promise of eternal perfection and glory with Him, we mustn’t lose site of this single truth: The best is yet to come! “The best” is not our family, our children, our marriage, our occupation, our finances, our home or our possessions. The best we’ve been promised is far greater than our sweetest moments here on earth. Even our best experiences and relationships are merely a hint of what’s to come.
Want to see beauty in the middle of the broken? Don’t forget the best is yet to come.
As undone as life is, we don’t have to be undone by it. Because we have a God who is far bigger than our undoneness. Our weakness is a display of his strength. Our mess is an opportunity for His glory. Even better, His love and mercy and grace cover every single one of our message.
We don’t need to wait until the undone places are fixed to experience His peace.
He is Peace. And He’s right here.