My best friend's mom died last week. After thinking about how this was the third funeral I attended this year I started thinking, "Man, 2009 has been a bad year!" After saying that I thought of all the good things that have happened through this year through all the pain.
We've lost loved ones and now we face an uncertain future, we've had to deal with the junk of this world and the sin that so abounds here (in ourselves and in others). But through these difficult few months I've grown leaps in my relationship with God. As Kevin and I try to figure out what job He wants us to pursue for next year we've grown closer together and attacked the creeping separateness that encourages us to live parallel lives. Through the painful circumstances I understand more about the Bible, about life, and how to deal with difficulties. I've learned how to better endure hardships and pursue peace. I can relate to others who are going through hard times. I cannot insulate myself from pain so I must grow from it.
This year may have been a difficult year so far, but not a BAD one. A bad year would be one in which I sat on my bum, did nothing for God, and did not grow as a person or learn. I can pursue comfort or I can pursue God, not both. I can rate my year on how happy I've been or how holy I've become.
In the funerals that I've been to, one thing I'd thought about is that the person had fulfilled their purpose on earth. This encouraged me that those of us still living are not done with our purpose, we've still got work to do! A few weeks ago I mentioned how much I'd rather go and be with the Lord, but now I've realized that was selfish. I just wanted to be with the Lord because it would be easier and happier, to just get away from the problems and pains of this life.
I'm always telling pregnant moms not to be consumed in yearning for pregnancy to be over because there is a miracle inside of them. Once it is out it can't go back in! I also encourage engaged couples not to wish away the period of engagement. It's a special time of waiting and preparing for the wedding day that they'll never have again. Well, I need to take my own advice. I'm going to live the abundant life and see it as a precious gift, even though it'd be easier to be with Him. I guess death is similar to both of those things. We know it's going to happen, we just don't know exactly when. So my time here is like being engaged but not knowing when the wedding date is.
Well, heaven is not God's current plan for me so I need to live courageously, the way He wants me to live. I shouldn't just endure, I should Enjoy! Going through pain and waiting isn't something we would choose to do voluntarily, but when I'm faced with the choice of living a mediocre life of comfort or a brilliant life with pain, I'd choose the latter.