In a short but blunt way, this life can kind of suck. Sorry, but it does. I remember the 31st of Dec 2020 like it was yesterday, I just had this deep sense inside of me that this year would be great one, cause let’s not lie, 2020 was the pits, so in some weird way I just thought that this was the year that that all changes. I felt such joy and peace about it — in fact my exact words to a friend not so long ago were I felt complete peace about where I was and complete trust in where I was going and so honestly, when I saw social media posts 3 days in to 2021 talking about how crappy the year already was, I felt like Jesus on the cross saying “forgive them Lord for they do not know what they say” only to join them myself 2 weeks in when everything turned around and went..
I know it’s still only Feb, but that in itself says a lot. January alone left me disappointed, heartbroken, and worn out, and I know I’m not being fair but it feels unreal to even try and expect anything different from the rest of the months, but I guess that’s life right? It insists on constantly presenting us with hardships that frankly we did not ask for, because no matter what beauty we try to pursue or what joy we try to bring into our lives or what peace we work hard at allowing ourselves to feel, this world just has a nasty habit of bringing us storms and challenges that we just can’t afford. I say can’t afford because the way my time, energy, patience and strength are set up sometimes, (read: zero) it would be surprising if I could handle even a mole hill. And honestly, I think we were given so much grace to be allowed to simply just have faith as small as a mustard seed, because sometimes thats really how small I feel my faith is face to face with these challenges, and I feel guilty about it, because it feels like I am the reason, like if I could just have more faith then God will move in big ways, but I had to learn that the issue isn’t whether I am full of faith but whether I have any faith, just faith in Him, to move and I discovered that that I do, and so I allowed that to be enough. But it still didn’t really make dealing with my problems any less difficult.
And I know I sound like I’m complaining, but to a certain degree I’ve actually come to terms with having to face challenges. I won’t go as far as saying I consider it pure joy, I still have to work on that part, but I have come to understand and, dare I say, be at peace with, the why behind it sometimes, not least of all because Jesus said it Himself, that in this world we will have tribulation, and so suffice it to say it’s to be expected. But like I said, I’m definitely not someone who lets burdens fall off their back like water or is constantly walking with hope that no matter what happens, they’ll be okay. I mean, I tried at the beginning of this year and look how well that turned out, (then again losing someone really close to you will do that to you). But, I will say, I am someone who understands now that the steps we take in whatever journeys we face, whether willingly or we have to pay through the nose for them, are part of this imperfect journey of life, but in the end, because we are not alone, lead us somewhere beautiful.
But it still got me thinking about just how difficult some journeys are, and how if you are a partaker in one such journey (raises hands) it’s not so easy to accept there is a bigger purpose to it, or that “things will get better” or even that in the end this will lead you somewhere better or more beautiful. Whether we experience loneliness, or heartbreak, or loss, or a health issue or closed doors, sometimes it just feels like you are in a pit and you will remain in the pit, and you may as well start decorating the hell out of that pit because it’s become your home. Honestly, no matter where, what or how things land on the scale of challenges, some things just feel absolutely impossible. The difficulty level experienced is just too high that it’s honestly almost impossible, but I guess that’s the key word right?
This is what I felt Holy Spirit tell me one day when I was having a similar conversation with myself and going on and on about how difficult things can be; in the middle of my rant He said “yes, but difficulty does not mean impossibility.” At the time I was not quite ready to be proven wrong, but I knew it was true. It’s true that just because you haven’t reached a certain goal it doesn’t mean you can’t— what is that quote by Henry Ford again, whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right — cool, but maybe it’s just me, when things seem difficult I automatically think it’s going to be impossible to achieve or, something I like to say is, “it will never happen”. I don’t know why, but I will try something only a few times before I render it impossible, and before you judge me, I mean something difficult — a level on a video game, an exercise routine that’s really just torture, solving some crisis — you know, that kinda thing. And I know it’s bad, but on the plus side, I do try, but yes, truth is I definitely did not heed the words of Aaliyah too closely, I do not try and try and try again, because if I have to, to me by that time it’s already impossible, and who wastes their time on impossible. Not me. Now when it comes to walking a difficult journey you can be sure I’m the same, it’s like I have a faith threshold where I can only believe in something for too long before I’m like hmmm, wait a minute, am I being a little silly here? Is five years not too long to accept that this is a dead ting? Maybe I was mistaken, maybe there is no hope or joy on the other side because why would it take so long, why would it be so hard and so on and so forth. Usually if I find myself having to consider such things, that is where I would tap out, except in such instances, unfortunately for me, I’m forced to stay on the journey. I can’t just quit, I can’t just say next, or even turn around to say to someone “you do it” — nope, because for some reason I was the one chosen to carry the burden, and so am stuck experiencing the level of difficulty over and over again, and constantly having that same sunken feeling of “this is impossible”, but yet not being able to even do anything about it.. like, what kind of a twisted rollercoaster is that? But that’s when I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit say again…. difficulty does not mean impossibility.
And I was getting a little frustrated with hearing this because I was like I get it, or better yet, prove me wrong then? But the more the words kept playing over in my head, I began to truly understand what it meant. Of course it’s pretty self explanatory, which is that just because you are having a hard time of something, or things don’t appear changed or different despite your honest effort in changing them or the finish line seems so far away despite having been walking for too long, doesn’t mean whatever it is you are walking towards won’t happen. I get that part, and what’s even more interesting is that the way I heard it said, I knew as far as the impossibility goes, there was a sure difference between can’t and won’t. As in, there was a difference in whatever you are walking towards can’t happen vs whatever you are walking towards won’t happen, and He wanted me to know that. He wanted me to know that we weren’t talking about a matter of can here, because sure, anything can happen, but what I was struggling with is, will it though, and Holy Spirit was speaking to just that, that just because you struggle doesn’t mean it won’t. But any way like I said, I got this, but what I had failed to see is that that actually means that what we are walking towards; be it the answers to what we’ve been praying for, or the promises God has given us; is in fact the most stable part of our journey, that is the thing we can be most sure of. It’s not really about Gods ability to do something, but Gods promise to do something, and sometimes those are two very different things. And something else I realised is also different is what happens on our journey vs the outcome of our journey. It’s easy to see the journey as a reflection of what’s to come, like things can only go from bad to worse. But as much as it pains me to say, thats not the case. I can bet my bottom dollar that after being tossed in a pit and left for dead, then sold into slavery then accused of rape and tossed in to prison Joseph didn’t think his story would turn out differently. He probably thought he would remain in prison forever or more series of unfortunate events would just keep happening to him. But none of the things Joseph actually suffered had a reflection on where he was headed. From the minute Joseph had those dreams Gods promise to him was set, it didn’t matter what happened to Joseph or what he went through, Gods promise never changed. And I guess the point is just because you flounder about now does not mean anything about where you are headed, because the two; what you are going through vs where you are going to, actually have nothing to do with each other.
And I’m starting to accept that… now. But If I can embarrass myself a little, for me any difficulty in my journey came mostly from feeling like the promise was actually the most unstable part, that that was something I was not guaranteed at all and I was simply just wishing on horses, because clearly if it can take this long it’s a no right? If I can pray and see no change it’s a no right? If I can do everything the Bible calls me to do and still struggle it’s a no right? Cause what else can it mean? And this obviously caused me great distress, panic, fear, frustration and just straight up over-it-ness, and this is why I’d constantly just want to press next on the journey, and say okay new game, new story line please — but like I said, you can’t do next on a journey that’s yours, not only because you actually still do want what’s on the other side, whether it’s good health, love, a family, a new job, changed relationship, better finances etc.. but also because you are just simply called to be on that journey. And I guess thank God right, because rumour has it we are not meant to live lives that never change, never grow and never rebuild. We are supposed to experience things that hurt and break us in order to shape us, to teach us, to help us value what we do have and what it is we want, and most importantly, to bring us closer to God, because with Him nothing is impossible. Ta-da, I bet you someone knew I was going to bring that point up, but yes.. that’s also what the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me, that if I am talking about what it is I can do, then yes, there’s no way, but, if we are talking about what it is God can do, then absolutely nothing is impossible. It will never be because I am so smart, or I prayed so hard and fasted so good, or did everything right and was blameless (like they liked to say back then) but because I simply trusted the one who could. I am reminded of the verse in Exodus 14:14, the Lord will fight for you; you need only be still, and this truly highlights that it is what He can do and not what you can do that makes you victorious.
And when I think about my own life, it’s when I have tried everything I could and came to the end of myself that I realised that there was no way I could actually get myself out of whatever challenge I was facing, and even more so there’s no way I was meant to, because only He can, and it’s what He wants to do. And I guess that’s the thing. If we think about Job and the Israelites, you wouldn’t know just how good and faithful God is if He didn’t show His face to you, and sometimes, just sometimes, that requires a little difficulty, but He is able and He will.