There was a lot of whispering around the water cooler. My supervisor was a candidate for Vice President of the department. Many asked, “Was she qualified?” Others thought, “There has never been a woman in this position before,” and “Is she even suitable for the task?” Although there were at least four other candidates, she was chosen to carry the torch of Vice President. Never had I been so proud of my boss of three years. My coworkers and I had a big celebration dinner filled with joy and plenty of gifts to honor her new-found success. Finally, her hard work had paid off and she was headed for bigger and better things.
After the initial excitement died down, I was hit with the news that there would now be a few more additional changes. Although the promotion was a wonderful achievement, I never considered that I would no longer report to my fearless leader. As she moved up the corporate ladder, there was now a new vacancy in the department and things were about to shift. Her current position needed to be filled and I needed a new supervisor.
There was again a lot of whispering around the water cooler. “Who would be the candidate for the new position?” “Would that person be as qualified as my last supervisor?” and “Is this person going to be suitable for the task?” Many candidates began to come into the office. With each interview, anxiety began to build and an unseen dark cloud began to fill the atmosphere. My work environment was encompassed with a state of worry and fear of the unknown. Finally, a new candidate was hired and things began to change.
Through this experience, I realized three things: God is sovereign, change is inevitable and worry and fear is the absence of faith and trust. I often wonder why God sometimes never fully discloses the stipulations of his blessings. For example, even when there is a promotion, we often lose things in the process in order to grow. As God takes us to higher heights and deeper depths, we may lose some friends along the way and may have to endure a lot of negative “whispers” and our faith may be challenged. We may feel uncomfortable at times, but we cannot let fear overtake our hearts, because even though our situation may transform, there is a time and season for every change and this too shall pass.
We must fully trust God that our outcome will be in our favor and even when we go through the process of not knowing the future, there should be a reassurance that God is in control. God encourages us in the book of Deuteronomy 31:6 to “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” He also reminds us in 1 Peter 5:7, to “Cast all our anxiety on Him, because He cares for us.” God is with us, through the journey of moving into the blessings He has prepared for us. He is with us when people speak words filled with questions of doubt and uncertainty and He is with us through the midst of change. Leave the unknown results to God, and never fear the outcome of moving forward.
“Why is everything so heavy?… So much more than I can carry.” —Chester Bennington, Linkin Park.
Creating out of Pain
As you likely know, Chester took his own life on July 20, 2017. Since his death it has been well documented that he was abused as a child and struggled with addiction and depression throughout his life. His art came from a place of deep pain. He took his pain and created music that was sometimes filled with rage and other times with sadness, but it was deeply personal and it resonated with millions of people. He created…
“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27) What does it mean to be created in God’s image? It means that we reflect Him and His character. The Creator, from which everything comes has put into humankind the ability to create, to live out our identity as those who bear His image. God has created us to create, to bring beauty and worship into a world desperately in need of it. But our creativity also reflects the imperfect and fallen world we live in. Poetry, music, film, painting, sculpture, photography; all of these things can reflect God, yet all of these can also reflect pain, fallenness, love and hate. The artist may cry out to God without even knowing that they do.
Lamentation and the Blues
A large portion of the Old Testament is poetry. The writers of Psalms, Proverbs, and most of the prophetic books wrote in poetic form. Psalms is a particularly emotional book, filled with writings expressing praise, but often expressing anger, doubt, and pain. In fact, the largest portion of the Psalms, the laments, are poems filled with pain and grief; the blues, we might call them today. The poet cries out to God seeking relief from the pain of his world. Sound familiar?
The Creator Feels your Pain
Perhaps you are an artist and you express your pain and grief in poetry, song or some other form. Perhaps you don’t consider yourself to be an artist at all, but you still deal with deep pain inside and you find a different outlet for it. Maybe you have no outlet at all. Whatever your situation, there is someone who identifies with you. God, the Creator, became a human in Jesus. The prophet Isaiah predicted what Jesus’ life would be like. “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” (Isaiah 53:3) As a human being, Jesus experienced all the emotions that we also feel. In fact, the words of Chester Bennington above echo what Jesus was feeling as he neared the end of his life. “May this cup be taken from me” (Matthew 26:39) is simply another way of saying this is “so much more than I can carry.” Our Creator is not one who is far away, unaffected by the pain that is so prevalent on this earth. He has quite literally walked in our shoes.