Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Teacher Is Always Quiet During a Test

I have been having a rough go of it lately: a lot of things on my mind and far too much idle time to feel sorry for myself about this and that. I really do have good days, but sometimes the bad days outnumber the good days and that's when I get very overwhelmed and anxious about everything. I can handle school related anxiety, but when it comes to my personal life I can hardly bare the hours I'm awake during the day. This has left me thinking a lot about why I become so frustrated with God and at the same time completely hateful toward myself. Sometimes I just want to tell God that I'm tired of trying and that I just want him to give me a straight up answer to all my problems that will fix everything. He rarely makes any test of my character easy... actually, I don't think he's ever designed any test of mine to be easy. I always learn the hard way even if I try my hardest to think through my issues clearly.
Yesterday I stumbled upon this quote:

"When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always             quiet during a test."

Touche, God. I then began to think more and more about this and came upon Genesis 22:1-3 where it talks about Abraham and Isaac.

1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and     he said, Behold, here I am.
 2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah: and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee. 
 3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

Hopefully we all know that next Abraham is fully intending to carry out God's will, even though he loves Isaac more than anything else in the world, and when Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac, God stops him and tells him that he is well pleased with Abraham's obedience. Abraham was no doubt wondering why God wanted him to perform this seemingly unthinkable task but was willing to do it anyway. He probably wondered where God was after He commanded Abraham to do this thing. Why wasn't God telling him that everything was going to be alright? Why would God want him to do that in the first place? Why wasn't God answering Abraham's silent pleadings to spare his son and think of something else to sacrifice? Where was God? God was there, but he was watching silently to see if Abraham had enough faith to do something so unbearably hard because he had more faith in the higher powers than he did in his own thoughts.
I must admit that if God demanded that I murder someone that I love dearly because He said so, I would probably snort and move on with my life, ignoring what he asked me to do. But that's really the way a lot of us approach hard tasks that are set before us. I know that when I'm faced with something hard, I often want to completely shut it out and hope that it eventually disappears. I just don't appreciate struggle; sure, I appreciate the results of my struggles when they're positive, but I detest struggling like I do most of the time. I too wonder where God is and why won't he remove this burden from my shoulders because I don't think I'm strong enough to get through. I can always feel God's thought process though: "Come on Christine, we've been through this many times before. You can do it, don't tell yourself otherwise. I can't help you with things you need to figure out on your own. I'm not here to hold your hand, that's what you have your brother Jesus for. In fact, Jesus will even carry you if you'll just let him."
Great. Now I feel bad. Every time. I know that I'm not the only one who just looks to the sky and wonders why things have to be so difficult. I love Heavenly Father, I really do, but I wish that he'd just give me a break more times than he does.
Which brings me to the past two days. As I said previously, I have been having a really rough go of it as of late and have been hoping that something wonderful would come along. Well yesterday I received a wonderful letter from a friend and today I got flowers. For the first time in a long time, I felt pure joy. I've never gotten flowers before and it really, truly made me feel completely blissful. I was able to handle a pretty busy and confusing first day at work with a good attitude and a positive vibe because of those two things. So Heavenly Father blessed me through two people who I care very much about. I keep forgetting that I usually receive blessings that way. For me to feel joy and to smile to myself every time I think of what those two people did for me, is an incredibly big deal. I'm usually so inside my head that I can't seem to get out of my mind palace without some major complications.
After thinking all these thoughts and pondering the story of Abraham and Isaac, John 14:27-29 came to mind:

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
 Peace. Untroubled heart. Unafraid. Rejoice. Believe.

Those are all things that I wish I had a better handle on in my life, and I've had to learn (the hard way, of course) that I can't gain all those things on my own. I need others to help me through, and if I have faith in God, He will give me peace and the wisdom and strength to be braver than I was yesterday.