Here's to another birthday.
But it isn't just another birthday is it? It's the day we celebrate our Savior.
I used to sit in church and hear that and just think, "Ok, Jesus was born...cool, I was born before too." It never occurred to me that it would mean so much to me later. Church is church. People will sing and sermons will be preached and skits will be performed. The church will have fundraisers and outreach events and people will show up and experience the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus. It was always a ceremony to me until December 25th 2009 when my brother was put into a truck and driven away lifeless.
This was the day that all of that church stuff went away and stopped doing anything for me. I was suddenly lost, confused, and conflicted. My confusion quickly became anger, then rage, and became the very thing that carried me through each day. I was comforted by nothing. My nights were spent turning and my days spent in anxiety. I was hiding from everything. I would not pray, and I would not give this God a moment of my time. To be honest, I gave him the finger.
I was wrong and underprepared for what was going to become of my understanding of my faith. My faith would no longer be based on weekly meetings, spiritual awakenings, or random gatherings of other believers. My faith would become the only way to survive. I would spend a good amount of time going through various motions so everyone thought I was OK. But I wasn't OK at all. I was traveling at an unmanageable pace toward what would become the darkest place I have been since my head laid on a certain set of tracks.
This is the danger of unrealistic faith. I say this because I believe God can do anything, but I now believe He won't do everything. God does not always do what you want. God isn't always going to save your mother, or wife, or brother. God sometimes, is going to watch them die with you. He is going to weep with you without you noticing. He is going to silently agree with the pain and anguish you face with the rising of every sun.
This pissed me off for a long time. It kept me from Him until I realized my faith wasn't about religious milestones or feelings at all. It is about survival. God isn't this cheesy pie in the sky moment when you all of the sudden feel better about yourself and life. God is getting a phone call while your son is opening his Wii by your brother to tell you your other brother is dead by sadness. God is in the moments trying to figure out a single thing to say to this amazing mother, who is always concerned with how you are doing, when her son is gone from her. God is when you are denouncing everything you had believed and turning to the cold darkness of anger. He lives there with you sometimes. This is faith. You come out of it and realize that He was there too. You realized just how broken His heart is too.
Then you understand what it means to be a Christian. It means pain, poverty, anger, rage, sadness, rejection, heartache, and despair are the very things that make your faith real to you.
Thanks for reading...Z