It was a warm summer day and my friend was feeding me lunch on the back deck of my parents’ house. We were in the midst of an in-depth conversation about the trials faced in this life. Mine is a blatantly obvious physical battle. My friend was sexually abused. After a period of silence, we were not quite sure how to articulate the conclusion we had come to: We would not change one thing that happened to us.
Interacting with others on the road of trial has had me reflecting on how these various trials shape us. What would my life have looked like without a car accident on November 20, 2009? At the rate I was going, very comfortable. Very carefree. The path of least resistance was all I knew.
When I reflect on what has happened through a crash course on life over the past four years from the lessons learned, to the relationships formed and strengthened, to the perspective gained, I wouldn’t trade a thing. I would have missed out on so much of the richness and fullness of this life.
In order to experience this more, I want to take the words of the Bible to heart when it comes to facing obstacles head-on: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4) I want to take full advantage of the opportunity on the anvil of life as God the blacksmith fine-tunes me.
I’ve learned a lot through Job’s story of suffering, recorded in the Bible. God allows Job to suffer immensely, with his family being taken along with his wealth and his health. Job calls out to God, asking why God would let this happen. The gist of God’s response is, “Job, I know what I am doing.” In the end, Job gains a greater understanding of the overall picture and is able to find contentment and even joy outside the context of comfort, health, or stability. My aim is to do the same.
Bob Sorge spoke and sang for a living when an injury to his vocal chords left him without his voice. He did not know where to turn or what to think when his whole world as he knew it crumbled. In barely more than a whisper, Bob’s words in this video push home the point that I’m glad I did not stay on the carefree path I was on:
Watching this video forced me to consider the chilling reality that God could have left me alone in my comfortable bubble, in the smallness of what I knew in my own little world. I want my prayer be similar to this guy’s. “Lord, do not leave me alone. I have got to know you. I have got to see you. I have got to have you. And I want everything you’ve got for me. Lord, do not leave me to myself. Interrupt my life if you have to. Test me if you have to. Come to me. Visit me. Reveal yourself to me…”
I’m not sitting here acting as if I genuinely have “pure joy” all the time. This is not my attitude every day. Some days it is even tempting to envision where I would be today if the accident had not happened. Ultimately, though, I want to be in the same posture as Bob. Shake me up, God. I don’t want to be left alone.