Oswald Chambers says this in his devotional, My Utmost for His Highest (which, by the way, is one of THE best devotionals ever written):
As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow.
Ok, let’s take a poll. Raise your hand if this is your perspective on sorrow and difficulty? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Me, either. My prayers almost always sound more like this:
“Lord, please take this from me,”
“God, please remove this cancer from my body,”
“I’m not strong enough for this, please don’t make me go through it.”
Sorrow is defined as “distress caused by loss, affliction, disappointment, etc.; grief, sadness, or regret.” Not exactly a pleasant definition, is it?
We try with all our might to eliminate sorrow from our lives. We don’t like it, don’t want it, and will implore all of Heaven’s power to keep it from us and from those we love.
But maybe we’re going about it all wrong.
Maybe we need to stop fighting the sorrow, stop running from the pain and just stand strong in the storm.
Consider this. What if the sorrow is meant to refine you? What if the struggle you are facing has a greater purpose? What IF the sorrow you are experiencing is being used to mold you into the person you were born to be?
We all know we cannot escape difficulty, sorrow, grief, sadness, and tragedy. It’s a given and no matter how hard we try to protect ourselves or shield those we love from pain, it will find us.
When we focus all of our efforts and energy on trying to avoid the hardships, we have no energy left to devote to savoring the moments or finding the blessings hidden in the midst of the trials. We lose perspective and are unable to see the beauty in the every day.
I still pray that God would remove every last speck of cancer in my body and keep it from ever coming back, but I pray more often for strength, protection, and courage to face whatever comes my way. We don’t get to chose our battles, but we can chose how we adapt and respond to them. I want to be the person God created me to be. If that means I have to face struggles in order to become that person, then I’ll do it. Not always with a cheerful heart, but with a heart open to the journey I am on.
“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.” – John 12:27-28