“RAAAAAGHHHHHHH!!!!!!” I roared at the bush turkey as I charged down the ramp into my garden. I knelt near the shredded remains of a recently planted calathea, one of my favourite accent plants, and sobbed. We had recently moved into our newly built home and I had worked so hard in between the demands of homeschooling and a newborn baby to establish this garden.
This was the last straw. It had been a hard morning where everything seemed to be going wrong. I was fuzzy headed, the baby had been difficult to get to sleep, the kids had done something or other to infuriate me, things were dropped, elbows and thighs were bumped and banged, I had a zillion and one things to do and now this!
“Ok!” I silently shouted at God. “I should have gone to bed earlier. Maybe the kids behave badly because of me. The washing is my responsibility, but THIS was YOUR DEPARTMENT! You could have stopped this! Why did you have to let this happen to me today when I am stressed enough already?!”
Secretly, subconsciously, I thought God should be doing a better job. I was ashamed to say it out loud but I thought that he could be doing better at looking after the world – and particularly me! I was trying to be a good Christian, why wasn’t he protecting me from suffering? God was supposed to be perfect so why wasn’t he doing a perfect job? I could do better if I was God, I was sure I could!
This was my darkest time but he didn’t seem to care. He just piled on the extra stress of all my hard work being destroyed by a rotten bush turkey! I thought it was his fault, that he’d done it on purpose to push me beyond what I could bear.
It never once occurred to me that he could be right there with his arm around me, sobbing quietly too.
You have almost certainly read the famous story ‘Footprints’. Well, here I was, right in the middle of the story, but the meaning of it hadn’t sunk into my heart yet.
Why does a perfect God allow suffering? This is a question that has plagued generation after generation and many have given eloquent answers, but I think that somehow, every single person needs to find the answer for themselves. Yes, needs to find the answer, as the only way to comfort their heart in the struggles we all face as part of being human.
I am learning to be grateful for all the hardships that come my way now, because they give me the opportunity to grow spiritually. Every struggle I make it through well peels off another layer that conceals the bright diamond inside me. Every complaint from the children, every harsh word from my husband, every refusal to cooperate, every late arrival, every mess, crack, spill and stain gives me the opportunity to practice holding onto my peace by sensing the presence of my God who is right there hurting with me and soaking myself in the truth.
It’s called pruning. And like a bonsai tree takes many years of careful crafting in order to reveal its true beauty, God allows the little snips, clips and cuts of life to craft me into his masterpiece.
True Perfection Already Exists In Every Moment
Every moment is already perfect because every moment can be used to grow. If I keep on getting distressed by the same thing happening over and over again, it is only because God is trying to show me something about myself that needs to change so I do not continue in this pain forever. I can fight against it, or I can surrender. I have found only bitterness in fighting, but peace comes with surrender.
It seems to me that ‘The Serenity Prayer’ was written just for perfectionists! I pray it often now, I’m sure it will help you too.
Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, (like other people!)
The courage to change the things I can, (mostly me!)
And the wisdom to know the difference.
More Helpful Truth Coaches
God prunes me to reveal my true beauty, like a Bonsai tree is sculpted over a lifetime. I can trust God.
My husband and kids are not difficult on purpose. They were created exactly the way God wanted them to be.
God is showing me this because he doesn’t want me to continue in this pain.
God has good plans for me. He will lead me in the right path. He is all-powerful.
God cares for me and walks with me and hurts with me.
I can emerge bitter or better. Which will I choose?