Looking at the Valley of Suck from A Certain Point of View

Days turn to weeks and weeks to months.  The months pile up into the first year and then the next one begins.  Life does not stop.  The demands do not stop.  While everyone else goes on, widows and widowers and the children are left behind to sort through it all.

This is not complaining nor is it bragging.  It simply is a reality young widows and widowers are forced to face.  For me, the nest is emptying out a bit and the plans that Heather and I had for the second half of our life don't exist now.  The life my kids imagined doesn't exist either and they too, are dealing with it.  My vocation as a clergy has even changed and "the bottom" takes new meaning.

In truth, it does not matter where in valley of suck we find ourselves, there does not ever seem to be an end to strange twists of life that keep us wondering when the pain comes to an end.

People still talk about "God's plan" being at work here and I just don't see it.  The arc of the Christian faith in Scripture speaks of redemption.  That "re" tells us God is going "back" to make things correct, to heal what was broken and wounded.  The redemption story is how Jesus "makes things right" between God and humanity.

At its simplest, "the fall" was not God's plan, God never WANTED sin to invade the world and our lives.  What we are living, and so many others, is not God's plan.  The Bible is a big book and there is a lot of theological insights through the centuries that make clear that SOME things we believe that are "Christian" are so only from a "certain point of view."

(Spoiler!!) Maybe you recall that line from Star Wars.  Ben Kenobi says that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered Anakin Skywalker.  The truth is Vader IS Anakin, but from a "certain point of view," you might look at it from the idea of betrayal and murder.

Our faith and world views must make room for tragedy.  Christian faith must make room for tragedies too.  Our bodies betray us as the years go one and we face sickness, health problems and death.  Though the day will come when this ends, it has not yet and until that time comes, we don't get a pass out of the pain.  No one is going to fix it for us.  There is no one who will rescue us.

The promise Jesus gives in Matthew 28 is that he will be with us.  If the pain of life doesn't pass, it doesn't mean God has betrayed you or left you.  It just means that the pain is not over and lots of people don't know about your pain and they may not really care.  Nothing has changed in my own observation in my book:

Life Sucks.
Seek God.

It is going to suck and the best thing you and I can do is keep seeking God.  One thing I've learned is that the 1 friend who sticks by you maybe the only person who sticks by you.  I wouldn't change that person for the world...

So whether it is one person or if it is God, keep seeking. Jesus is still there in the midst of the valley.

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