Note: GUEST POST from Alex Schmocker, Youth Worker
(featured in “ministry message” for Anchor Magazine)
When we are feeling under pressure, tired, with deadlines looming and we can barely find a second to breathe, moments of failure, rejection, and disappointment seem to impact us more heavily than ever. Sometimes we feel like it’s harder to taste the good things in life, because of the messiness around us.
Many intelligent and wise people agree that it’s in those circumstances that we actually do our best growing, but the question is: how on earth are we supposed to grow and flourish if we feel like we’re being stifled by the dark, muddy soil we’re planted in? And more than anything else, we are often pestered with the question of why?
Author Lysa TerKeurst suggests that it’s good to ask the ‘What’ questions, and less helpful to ask ‘Why’: “Pride loves to whisper, ‘It’s their issue. Not yours.’ Insecurity loves to whisper, ‘You are a mess. You are the issue.’ But what a tragedy it would be to suffer this hurt and refuse the precious and costly gifts of humility and maturity this situation could very well give you.”
A good friend of mine, Jessie Schilling, is a poet and a little while ago she wrote this poem:
underneath she breeds complexity,
breathless light shining in the soil.
why was she planted here, where no
one could see? was she just burying,
or was he waiting? there was dirt that
needed removing. there was darkness
that needed lifting. how could she be
released from this captivity? when
would she be ready? she desperately
wanted to break free. exposure was
calling, the surface enthralling. but he
seemed more concerned in restoring
than uprooting. if her hope was in the
harvest, she would need perseverance
when praying. faith like a potato. an
unwavering belief in bounty. in the
abundance of life above. she would
need patience where she was planted.
because for now, transformation was
necessary. the Farmer was working,
committed to her growing … was she?
Something helpful that author Lysa TerKeurst suggests is to keep asking people around you – people that you trust and can be courageous in vulnerability towards – keep asking them questions, and listen closely to their response, even if you don’t necessarily like what you hear. Sit often in prayer and lay out all of your questions at God’s feet. Listen well to what the Spirit says to you through people, through the Bible, and through your own self-reflection. It often takes a long time, just as though you are being ‘planted,’ but the key is learning to embrace the journey, not ignoring or overlooking the growing pains, but listening to what they are telling you, and trusting in the promise of a harvest.
the Farmer was working,
committed to her growing