• Karissa

Gladly, Gladly, Gladly

Last year on this day I ate cake and penned a rebellious war cry to Dear Ol’ Delilah (the name I gave my migraine). This year I am breathing, and praying, and walking “Gladly, Gladly, Gladly”.

Today marks two years of constant migraine. Two years of never stopping for a second dizziness, vision changes, sensory sensitivity, and pain. Plenty of pain. Two thirds of my daughter’s life. Two years of injections, surgeries, medications, and learning.

Two years of crying out to God.

Maybe my “trial” seems small to you. Maybe it seems large. Either way, ALL of our trials are giants, aren’t they? And we ALL face these giants in our lives. Cancer. Divorce. MS. Diabetes. Homelessness. Rejection. Infertility. Abuse. Death. Loss, Loss, Loss.

I can breathe in my soul now. I can be separate from my pain for moments, from my loss. I face every day Gladly, facing the pain and heartache head on. I worship my Abba Father and proclaim “even if you don’t, I will.” Even if you don’t heal me, I will follow you gladly. Even if my life is robbed of the things I think I need, I will follow you gladly. Even if my entire life is shrouded by the veil of pain, I will worship you gladly.

How can I say that? Prayer. I read Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12 just about every day for the first year. And I prayed for God to work in my heart the way he worked in Paul’s:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this (Deliverance from “the thorn in his side”), that itshould leave me. But he said to me,“My grace issufficient for you, for my power is made perfect inweakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladlyof my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ mayrest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I amcontent withweaknesses, insults, hardships,persecutions, and calamities. For when I amweak,then I am strong.

Why can we face anything Gladly? Because God’s grace is sufficient in ALL situations. Because God loves us too much to let the affects of sin and rebellion steal our soul. Everything may be stolen from us by this world, but God’s grace still stands. The enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy. Christ came that we may have life and have it abundantly.

Friend, listen to me. We live in a fallen world. We WILL face giants, and my heart breaks knowing the monsters some face. But we can have hope and purpose and be glad in the most terrible and terrifying of circumstances. ONLY BECAUSE OF CHRIST, WHO FACED THE DEPTHS OF HELL SO THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO. SO YOUR SOUL IS SAFE. SO YOU ARE FREE FROM WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU. SO YOU HAVE HOPE AND A FUTURE AND AN ETERNITY OF REST.  There is nothing that can stop God’s grace for you. Nothing that can separate His love from you.

Paul knew that all that mattered in his life was Christ, and Him glorified. He knew the ugliness happening to him (the “thorn”, beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, snake bite, decapitation) was a giant far overshadowed by God. So he was content with anything, knowing what was in store.

I encourage you. Pray for real. Pray for healing and deliverance from your giants. But pray “even if you don’t, I will.” Live Gladly every day, because your hope is untouchable.

P.S. If this kind of faith sounds extreme, good. Mothers losing their children is extreme. Cancer is extreme. Children being abused is extreme. My prayer is for all who read this to have  extreme HOPE no matter what in a God bigger than any giant we will face. Why would I have faith in a God who allows myself and my family to suffer every day with our giant? Because of his great and infinite love. God did not make us for suffering. He made us for the garden: for perfect life in communion with him. And because of his great love for us, he gave us free will. He gave us choice: because without the ability to choose for ourselves, there really is no love? The disease and destruction and suffering in this world is not God-inflicted. It is the result of our rebellion and sin and hate. The world is broken, and God loves us enough to enter it and suffer alongside of us and die for us, paying for what we should. So we can have hope and a life, but we have to choose. We get to choose. The just God of the universe out of LOVE does not wipe out suffering, because he would have to wipe out all of the people who made it. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. So before Jesus comes back and finishes the war on sin and death once and for all, God is calling out to us in the darkness. He is the light. He will give us freedom and hope and a future. He restores our soul.