Apparently my face is not exuding happiness. Several people over the weekend and at church asked what was wrong with me. One person even asked if I was getting divorced. Wow! Nothing could be further from the truth.
But I have had a lot on my mind lately. Major repairs that need done to the house from some water damage. Anna had cut again for the first time in over two years and ended up back in an in-patient therapy program for ten days. Then she broke her ankle. All three girls and Mandi have been sick. Money is tight. I am working to ramp up my pulpit supply calendar to deal with that. That’s just what I’m willing to share, and it doesn’t include friends of mine that I am helping walk through difficult times too.
A friend told me this weekend someone at church asked how he was, to which he responded, “I’m doing alright.”
“Just all right? You should be fantastic!”
“Well, I’m not. I’m just alright.”
Can I be honest? I don’t trust people who are fantastic all the time. That is doubly true of Christians. Problems, challenges, failings, disappointments, surprises, headaches, and heart-brakes are what life is made of. Yes, there is a lot of joy, happiness, successes, and breakthroughs in life too, but it is not all that—and certainly not all that all the time. Being a Christian does not make all your problems go away, nor does it make all your problems magically manageable. It is real work to love. It is painful and costly to be growing in humility, to give grace, and to lift people out of the muck and more of events that threaten to suck them under the riptides of mess.
I think the Church would be a much better place if it were a safe place to talk about our problems, messes, and disappointments openly. I think you would see God work in much more powerful ways, see His grace more clearly, and feel His love more deeply. Not only that, but you would soon see that you are not the only person with problems. And when you hear the problems that other people are dealing with, you may be very happy to have the ones you’ve got!