I don’t know about you but I often think some friends of mine I admire have really got things sussed. They have gorgeous husbands, lovely children, work flexibly so they can be around for their children, cook fabulous meals whilst effortlessly rising through the ranks at work to smash the odd glass ceiling or two! If they are married, then their husbands are pursuing their dreams and they enjoy their weekends together as a family.
Don’t get me wrong, I know my life is pretty amazing, I have a great job, home, loving husband, gorgeous children and food on the table, and a roof over my head. There are times when it seems pretty tough as well. I’ve been through redundancy, near death experiences, being rejected by work for opportunities I thought I could step up and do, I’ve been ignored by people I used to be close to, seen family go through the torture of mental illness, and most days wishing I spent more time with the kids.
However as a Christian, I think it’s really important that I am not trying to be a “super-apostle” as described by Paul in one of his letters to the early church. As I’ve mentioned before I feel called to move to leadership in the church, and find myself wondering why me? I am deeply flawed, and not really the most holy of people. I swear, drink, shout at the kids, I like watching rubbish TV and eating junk food. I love going to the pub, most of my friends aren’t Christians and don’t know my bible very well at all!
It turns out this is exactly why God is trying to “tap me up” for his team. If we are “holier than thou” as leaders in the church then noone will want to know about Christ, as it’s through our dark times and weaknesses that we often come to know Jesus. God doesn’t want us to all read the same newspapers, parent our children the same way and eat the same food. If your vicar is a “super-apostle” then it may seem too much like a marathon to run, to keep up. Anyone who says they have all the answers and can explain how easy it is to follow Christ, is probably not telling you the truth. Most people I know who have a deep understanding of their faith, have persevered through really difficult times without much concrete proof that the Lord is with them.
Paul in his letters to the Corinthians talks about this in 2 Corinthians 12 v7-10
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
So whatever the issue is in your life, whether it’s not being able to share your faith with those around you, that you can’t have a baby, not having enough money, having a chronic illness, facing redundancy or losing a loved one, instead of saying “why me?” you could try saying through gritted teeth
“Thank you lord! Thank you for this opportunity to get to know you better, and to rely on your strength to keep me going. Show me the way and help me turn to you.”
God will always bless those who cry out to him like this. Not always in the way you had in mind though!