Friday, August 15, 2014

Bigger Than "The Man"

Photo image courtesy of Anatoly Tiplyashin via 123rf.com
  What can we say about all these things? Since God is for us, who can be against us? God did not keep His own Son for Himself but gave Him for us all. Then with His Son, will He not give us all things? 
~ Romans 8:31-32, NLV ~ 
We’ve made it to August, friends. For parents, a month will pass and the kids will finally be dumped back into the world of education. For some, however, I’m sure this cannot be the easiest of times, and not all of your woes are to blame on the stresses of back-to-school shopping. For some, returning us kids to the education system is like a cesspool of anxiety with enough force to tear you apart:
"What if my child has a hard time focusing again this year?"
"What if their new teacher is just as misunderstanding as the last?"
"What if the bullying starts again?"
"What if the doctor visits stunt their learning?"
The list can go on and on, but the bottom line is that the school system isn’t always the most supportive environment for our special community to rely on, and the parents sure do know it. Around this time of year, it seems like the only one who's got your back is Murphy's Law, but that doesn’t have to be the case. In these times, what is really needed most doesn’t come from the “what-if’s” or your kid’s favorite character printed on a new backpack: What we really need is comfort, such that can only come from God.
If I may digress, in my own independent writing, I’ve recently been privileged to discover an example of God’s peace and comfort in a manor that I would have never expected.
As a fictional piece, I’ve been working on a novel for quite some time now, regarding the lives of two college students with life-threatening chronic diseases. The main character, Drew, lives with a bleeding disorder which he hardly has the will to handle on his own. Not that the disease is as difficult to handle as he makes it out to be, but rather he is able to magnify the disorder’s control over his life with how bitterly he regards it and all that it has held him back from throughout his life.
The secondary protagonist, Julie, lives a life with Lupus, a disorder which physically keeps her bed-ridden for days, prevents her from exploring her passion for the great outdoors, and makes it difficult to attend her classes and focus on her studies. Unlike Drew, however, Julie has a way of appearing joyful and content with her existence each day. To Drew, this type of behavior seems alien, if not almost psychopathic. He cannot fathom how somebody suffering just as badly, most days worse than he, can be so full of an absolutely inhuman amount of bliss and glee.
I had absently written a conversation between these two characters, about dead center of the book, and hardly realized what had been set to my paper,sa until after it was written. Between these two characters, both sick and frail, Drew had questioned Julie on how she could possibly be so positive on a regular basis, when the fact is that her body is literally eating itself alive. He was baffled, confounded, furious, and even more so after she provided an explanation:
“It’s God, Drew… it’s all God and nothing else. I mean, just think about it for a sec’: He’s the reason why there are doctors on this earth who can treat me--doctors who make the medicines that keep me alive. He’s the reason why I can get up in the morning and get to sleep at night. He’s the reason why I got into this school, why I got in with enough scholarships to almost get a full ride, why I get to take the classes I like even though all the teachers should have turned me away… every breath I breathe, every step I take--it’s all because He says I can have it. How can I not be happy, knowing that He does so much for a little speck like me? How can I feel sorry for myself when I know the God of everything’s got my back?”
And how can we not feel the same way? How good is it that our God gives us the means to keep on living, despite all the hardships of this life. How good is it that, no matter how rough the oceans rage, God will always be there, waiting for us to call out to Him that he may settle our storms. We may believe that there is much to worry about, much to do, and much to dwell on to keep ourselves safe.  But what is there truly to worry about, unless we somehow claim to know more than God?
Now just think of this: with all of our trust, all of our troubles and worries placed before God and God alone, what reason do any of us have to fear what the school system, or any other establishment, has to throw at us? Why should our hope in Christ stand in the shadow of our pains and anxiety? Why should the educators, principals, and thoughtless classmates stand in the way of a faith as magnificent as ours? 

Our God is the God who formed the heavens and the earth, pieced together each and every cell of our being by hand, sprinkled every glistening speckle into each eye, placed every disk of every vertebrate in our spines, breathed to life each star and planet, commands the inhale and exhale of every breath: If the “what-if’s” can’t shake Him, then why let them take hold of you?

Pray:  God lay Your mighty hands on each of our woes.  Allow our eyes to see and  our hearts to feel that every day has been made new by Your incredible grace and love. 

~ Alexandra Dittrich

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