John 4:13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
I've known and experienced the grace of God all my life. I grew up listening to stories from the Bible and learned the good news about Jesus. I've made the good confession as I professed my faith during my confirmation and as an adult. There have been many other landmarks in my faith growth and in my maturing in Christ over the years, most of them having to do with difficult experiences. From being bullied as a child and all through high school; to challenges and difficult people in architecture and in ministry, Jesus has led me to follow Him through these rough years. I understood even as a child that following Jesus meant enduring teasing, ridicule, and hardship from other people, all the while continuing to love them and God. I've also experienced the challenges of my own sin. But there always seems to be more to draw out of our inner being as we grow older.
The current trials of my wife's battle with cancer that has metastasized to her brain and lungs and my transition in vocation has cut deeply in my soul and spirit. I felt something like a sword cut deep into my inner being as we first heard this news of the return of cancer. I have written about how God is leading us through these trails with joy. Yet in the midst of joy and God's extravagant love is a very real pain. I would even say a present fear, anxiety and anger at times. I want to be real with anyone who is reading. We have hope in Christ, but pain, hurt and anger are real too. Being human means we have emotions. They are a part of our mortal soul. But by the Spirit we can go through these waves of emotions and overcome by the fruit of the Spirit that God gives to us through Jesus.
My wife has been through many treatments of radiation and chemo over the last several months. But a few weeks ago the symptoms returned. She had a severe headache and vomiting again. She immediately was put on medication and we talked with the doctors. At this point I was fearful, hurt and in a lot of pain in my soul. I love my wife and I don't want to lose her. I prayed, "Lord, Your will be done." Yet, I felt an anger deep inside of me, but I pushed it down by my will and said to myself, "I will NOT be angry with God!" Yet, if I am honest, I was angry with God. As I continued to process this anger and hurt over the next several weeks, I felt that same sword piercing my soul. This time if felt like an even deeper cut.
It's almost as if the Lord was allowing this suffering to drill a well inside of me. More anger, past hurts, bitterness and insecurities where bubbling up. I spent time in personal conversation with God about these things and talked with a couple of mentors. As the Lord uses this drilling to create a deep well in me He is bringing out all of the sludge, mud, and gunk. This digging is clearing a well where the "streams of living water can flow more freely," (John 4) as I cooperate with God. It has not been fun or easy these last 9 months. But I see the Lord is making good out of it all. Deeper wells mean clean water will be even more available in times of drought. That is, as I seek the Lord and let Him do the hard work in my life.
I think we all come to face a point in our lives where we can allow God to do the hard digging within us, or we don't. We cover up the pain through distractions, like work, media, alcohol, drugs, pornography or whatever it may be that hides the pain. Everyone longs for safety, belonging, comfort and love. And sometimes we fall for the illusion of these things because it seems better than pain and suffering.
We all go through suffering and trials, or we will someday. Our own sin, the sin of others and the fallen nature of the world leads to suffering and death for us all. Yet, God's hand is upon all of those who answer His call to come to Jesus. He loves us dearly and is making us into a new creation daily. It is always best to cooperate with his shaping, molding and digging.
O Lord, give me this Living Water that is found only in Jesus Christ, that I may have an abundant life on earth as it is in heaven.
Your brother in Christ,
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