So, sea-shanties were a thing for a bit. And as is the case with most things being a stay-at-home Mom to three under 4, I just caught the end of the wave (pun intended).
During the time I had been seeing TikToks and reposts of TikToks of youngins creating dance routines of, and lending their voices to duets of Wellerman, Drunken Sailor, and other shanties, I had also been seeing just as many faith-based posts on the subject of suffering.
Whether it was from the small, local churches of Facebook friends, or from internationally known congregations like that of pastor Rick Warren, I had been seeing post after post, sermon after sermon on suffering.
The year of suffering
You’ve heard it from me, you’ve heard it from everyone, and you’ll keep hearing it until this pandemic ends and beyond–there has been a lot of suffering this past year and a month.
And though it feels like it has been going on forever, in the grand scheme of things, it’s all just a blip on God’s timeline.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17).”
I may have mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again: There’s no leveling up without grinding, and the process often involves getting a little roughed up along the way. But it’s all necessary so that we might reach greater potential.
A cousin of mine sent me a sermon from her church a while back, in which the Pastor recounts the prayer Jesus prays to the Father before He was taken to be crucified, telling Him how overwhelmed He was with sorrow, how crushed He was, “to the point of death.”
He said, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will. (Matthew 26:39).
Then He continued, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, “May your will be done. (Matthew 26:44).”
The Pastor continued the sermon instructing his congregation to drink up their own cups of suffering, to “Plug your nose if you have to!”
I’ve been avoiding my own cup, as it sits in front of me, growing tepid. The bitter, pungent contents of all my sorrows, fears, anger, and more…it seems too full and too disgusting to drink.
But I know I can’t avoid it. I have to drink it, every last drop.
There is one bible passage in particular that has resonated with me when reflecting on this season I’m still coming out of, as I swirl the sediment of my resentments, guilt, and broken dreams that have settled at the bottom of my suffering cup:
“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees (Psalm 119:71).”
Over the years, I’ve come to realize I’ve been a bit spoiled.
For the longest time, I had been receiving yeses (not answers, as “No” is still an answer) to most of my biggest prayers, one after the other. Independence, marriage, children…I’ve been given a lot. And I had grown accustomed to suffering from depression and anxiety, so all of these blessings were overshadowing anything “negative” that had come up in my life, until recently.
After a season of abundance, I have now had to navigate my own disappointments, along with the difficulties I find myself sharing with friends, family, and the world at large as the pandemic continues.
But the more I work through these things with my therapist (a Christian herself), and through prayer and reflection, I’m beginning to see how these disappointments and heartache have actually been good things for me. Without them, I don’t think I would have gone on this journey to get back to and grow in my faith.
Furthermore, I now see if I still have hope for certain things to come to fruition in my life, there were just a few things I had to learn and areas of my life to grow in first. I do have to try to let go of certain things, though, to trust in God’s vision of my life. All I can do is pray.
It’s not pleasant.
At the end of the day, no matter how much I question, protest, or sulk, I know full well that His will, and only His, will be done. Whether or not that aligns with what I think I want, or how it makes me feel is irrelevant.
There’s no way around it. But as you suffer, keep in mind, the medicines that heal us the best are often the ones that taste the worst. But it is all in the name of making us better.
So drink up, me Hearties. And as you lift your cups to your lips, I will so lift mine, as heavy as it is.