For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
– Psalm 62:5-7
February has been a challenging month. Fulfilling responsibilities while dealing with unrelenting family conflict is a challenge, and this month was overloaded in both areas. As we draw near to the end of February, I can see how good God has been to me and the encouragements He has sent me along the way. A sent me the sweetest, most encouraging text the morning after one of the roughest nights – without even knowing what had transpired; F called me out of the blue on a day I was struggling and even though I wasn’t able to talk long, just hearing from her greatly lightened my burden. Even D got me to set aside my deadlines last night and come watch his and L’s soccer game and I breathed angst-free air for almost 3 hours.
So February has been full of dead lifts and negative chins, but God is still proving able to teach and strengthen me through everything He sends.
This month, He taught me to better understand my struggle against the world.
We are not promised, as Christians, to have an easy life. Anyone who truly studies their Bible knows that the prosperity gospel is heresy and quite the opposite of the true gospel message. But even though we know we are not promised an easy life, I think it is easy to assume the trials and sufferings will come from outside: outside our home, outside our family, outside our friendships. You know, “the world” will be against us. Not our friends and family. I know that I personally have wrestled with the fact that my trials have come from inside my home. It didn’t seem fair – because the world is outside my front door, so that is where the trials should be.
However, Sunday night, my mother and I were discussing the broken marriage of some relatives and whether or not the wife *should* divorce since she has biblical grounds for doing so. Suddenly I realized that “the world” is not comprised of unbelieving neighbors and strangers. The world really is (all too often) our friends and even our closest family. For this relative, the member of “the world” that is persecuting, hating, and wronging her (and apparently has been for 20+ years) is her husband. That hit me like a ton of bricks.
I knew that the gospel itself turns father against son, etc, but I always thought that meant the conflict would obviously be over belief in Jesus Christ. But the gospel also is divisive because it changes people’s actions and attitudes, not just their beliefs.
If my relative were not a Christian, she would have left her husband years ago. Conflict gone.
If my parents were not Christians, so much about our home would be different. Conflict gone.
If I was not a Christian, I would have made very different decisions. Conflict gone.
Because of the power of the gospel in the lives of my relative, my parents, and myself: conflict.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33