Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When negative situations have positive results

I was thinking about this today when someone I work with came back from North Africa and told about meeting someone that said that Christianity is exploding through underground house churches in Iran, and it didn't surprise me one bit. Generally the Church grows incredibly each time a government cracks down on it. It happened in Rome. It happened in China. It's happening in Cuba.

I read a statement by a house Church leader in China who was responding to the prayers of Western Christians that Communist China would fall and Christians would stop being persecuted. The leader said that he never prays for this, because when resistance to the Church stops, the Church will grow decadent and lethargic.

Funny. What we see as bad in these countries has ultimately been good.

I have a harder time transferring this mentality into my own life. When I moved to Dallas, it only took a few months for me to feel deeply, painfully lonely. It was a long hard road for over a year... probably more like a year and a half. I could identify what was wrong - lack of relationships, lack of community, lack of a mode of transportation, being in an unfamiliar place, being in a new culture, etc.. etc. All in all, it amounted to a bad situation for me.

But ultimately, it wasn't bad. It was hard, but not bad. It meant stripping away everything so that for a year, I had little more then me, Isaac, and a lot of time to think... and ultimately that led me to pray, to read, to cry out to God, to examine my faith, and to understand that hope, contentment, and home lie only in Him.

It may not be the way I would have chosen
as You lead me through a world that's not my home
but You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone
... I will walk through the valley if You want me to

There are some other things I think of as negative. I think it's really tough to feel useless while I wait for Isaac to finish His schooling, but at the same time I'm learning that my identity shouldn't be drawn from the significance of WHAT I DO.

It's tough to not be near the people I grew up with, or my family, but at the same time this new place is forcing me to face the walls I've built up around my heart. I'm having to take tiny aching steps to re-learn how to grow friendships and learn to love people, and how to just be myself around people instead of faking friendliness, you know? Those are things I REALLY need to learn.

So I think... a lot of the time.... what I think is bad... is actually good... and I just haven't figured it out yet.


Melissa said...

thanks for this post. i need to remember this too, especially now, because leaving and moving to a new place is not easy..

on a side note, i keep feeling surprised when people ask me questions like, "how is that going to be for you living in a communist country?" and i'm thinking about how amazing it will be to see all the wonderful things that are happening there!

Lauren said...

I know I get "bad" and "hard" confused, assuming they are the same thing. They are not. When I lack hardship in my life, I can guarantee I will become complacent in my relationship with God. I find I pray for hardship, not because I want to suffer, but because suffering pushes my towards God in a desperate heart-deep way that little else does. It's good to remember. ~ L

This Heavenly Life said...

I'm really loving the thoughtful things you have to say - this was wonderful. It's a viewpoint that's not very often heard of in the states, I imagine. Everything's so centered upon how much we can do for ourselves to make our own lives amazing and successful. So how do we react when it gets tough? We definitely do not embrace it and rejoice at it's ability to draw us closer to God. More likely, we get mad about our circumstances and turn further away from the Truth. How different life would be if we all understood what you've just outlined. I'll do my best :)