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Faith, hope, and joy

The early sunrises are a bit intimidating when a long day lies ahead. My persistent fear of being used up and exhausted wakes up early, too. Yet, even though I'm tempted to mistrust it, something in me looks forward to the day. Sometimes hope breaks through the Red Rover lineup.

Lots of new things for friends this weekend: Seth & Adrianne married yesterday way up in Vanderhoof, BC, Zack & Gala welcomed their third son into the world, and Ben & Sara were sent home from the hospital, still pregnant with their first son and thankful for God's goodness in keeping him inside a bit longer (they went in for pre-term labor last week at 33 weeks). Thinking about all of their joy, I'm struck by the beauty of faith. We live in an age and culture that exalts the struggle and messiness of belief, and sometimes I forget how beautiful and compelling it is when people actually believe.

That's not to minimize the reality, importance, and beauty of struggling.* It's just so refreshing to see trust in God shining through in joy, not because of denial based in fear, but because God is truly worthy of our trust, and there's a freedom that comes with doing so. That faith is a gift from Him, and I want to look for it more often—inside and out.

*Blogging about faith and beauty almost requires such a disclaimer, which makes me a little sad that faith can't be simply proclaimed as beautiful these days. But I digress, hence the footnote.


I don't understand struggle as a beautiful thing. It's a reality, I am behind you on that part. But I personally am not a fan of it.

I love beautiful things, but I really could do without the struggle. I get that sometimes the struggle produces beautiful things, but I'd just as soon skip it, to be honest.

The struggle sucks. And frankly: I'm over it.
Man, was i ever pissy when i wrote this.

I'm feeling better now. But I still don't think it's beautiful to struggle.

I liked it. Maybe because I'm so regularly pissy.

The Seattle version of post-modern culture (may be more widespread) has a strong "embrace the struggle" thread running through it, and I think it's often a good thing. But there's a different kind of beauty that comes with just embracing joy, and I love that, too. It's OK to struggle, but honestly, it's also OK to be over it in favor of faith, hope, and joy. That's, of course, not always an either-or proposition, but I think all the struggle-embracing marginalizes the latter beauty sometimes. And we need that beauty, and it truly is beautiful.
I am familiar with the "embrace the struggle". It's almost become meaningless to me.

I don't embrace it. I don't like struggle. I try to embrace the Lord when I'm struggling. Like I was yesterday. I embraced the struggle the day before yesterday - which could also be called, "wallowing in it".

It sounds romantic and like something you see in a movie that makes you cry (most movies make me cry - I'm a sap). But I think it's silly. TISI.

I know we are to be thankful in all things. I'm thankful when I go through a struggle, because I know there is a God who gets me through it. I am thankful because I know there is a better day ahead. I am thankful because good things come out of struggle, and God never wastes pain. But I am not thankful for the struggle itself and I don't want to embrace it. I want to get out from under it.

I like what you said about it being okay to be over it in favor of faith, hope and joy. I don't hear that often enough.
The need to "get out from under it" is the need to be saved, and maybe it's easier sometimes to pretend we don't want this anymore, recrafting our "faith" accordingly.

Sometimes I wonder if we're so afraid that God can't or won't save us that we don't hope for it anymore and don't notice when and where it actually happens—not all the time, and not always fully on this side of heaven, but it does happen! When we stop, God can seem distant and/or small because we made Him that way.

Or maybe people just think it sounds cool.
i think people desperately want to find SOME good in the total suck that is struggle. thus, the going on about the beauty of struggle. and yeah yeah yeah, there can be good found in the midst of it. but seriously? sometimes it just plain sucks and that's all there is to it. and sometimes? people need to even hear that it's okay that it just completely blows. not everything has rainbows and sunshine coming out of it. good grief.

faith like theirs is absolutely a wonderful testimony to the fact that god is worthy of our trust. that kind of faith is encouraging and challenging all at once to me.
Yes, on all counts. Like I mentioned in reply to jeney, it often feels like our cultural pendulum has swung to value struggle over joy, and I think we get stunted when we can't accept, respect, and be challenged and encouraged by faith that somehow moves beyond our struggle.

God is with us in struggle, but sometimes, He saves us, flat-out (even when it doesn't look that way). I don't want to always be suspicious when others rejoice because of that, or to fail to look up from my self-involvement when He does that to me.

Edited at 2009-05-11 02:16 pm (UTC)
hm. you know, i think that "embracing the struggle" *might* be a reaction to the other side of it, which is "hey! it's wrong to struggle! remember? you're a new creation in god and everything is good! he's gonna come through!" so like any pendulum swing, it's too much... to far. i don't think i'm surrounded by people that are really much in either camp. the people i love and that love me, and the greater group (for lack of a better term... but i'm mostly referring to my church family and then a few others) around that are willing to let the suck be sucky and not try platitudes either way. but also fully embrace god's kingdom breaking through in the midst. so i don't see this pendulum swing in real life... maybe i'm lucky? :D

i've recently went through a really shitty time. and even at the start of it, i saw god TOTALLY rescued me from worse. but the struggle, boy oh boy was it there. and you know what? it just completely and totally sucked. and now, looking back, i see god's hand. but really for the majority of the time i was holding tightly to jesus as my life preserver to keep from drowning. there was no embracing of the struggle, i can tell you that. just trying to keep my head above water. that being said, again, i have no pressure from anyone around here to be philosophical about it all. :) my dear friends just sat with me, listened to me, and prayed like heck for me.

so i guess i'm rambling just to say, take heart. not everyone's pendulum has swung that way. :)

also? i'm totally on board with god just taking care of business. how i love his miracles.