Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wasting time on what “Should” have been

We’re all laughing. The table is filled with good food and surrounded by good friends. I just cracked a joke on Tina, my friend’s wife, who glowers at me and then laughter interrupts her Texas drawl. I look over and see my wife smiling while she holds my son. The little guy is sleeping even with all this noise. I knew he would take after me. But as you know, he isn’t really there.

Sometimes, usually when I am most happy, I see how my life “should” have been. I’ll remember my loss and my joy instantly turns to anger. Laughter turns to ashes in my mouth.

Anger. It runs deep. Often times I’m not even aware of it. I try to mitigate its outward expression through joy in friends and trips, but it follows me even there. If you don’t take care of anger the right way it will never leave.

I’m not angry at anyone in particular. I’m not angry at God, and I’m not angry at my wife. I just miss him so dearly. My joy is gone.

John Piper has a quote that I am going to butcher because I don’t have the book in front of me. He (basically) states: Sin is what you do when you no longer find your joy in Christ. Finding your joy in Christ requires giving up foolish notions of what your life “should” have been like.

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV)

In the midst of my pain I am continually tempted to find joy in the world. I know it would not last, but it would at least numb the pain for a while. I am always tempted to find earthly pleasures to distract me from the life I am supposed to live. But why not take some time to be selfish? Have some “me-time,” and live the way I want? It’s not like anyone would condemn me for it.

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct… 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

1 Peter 1:14,18-19 (ESV)

And that’s when I remember at how great a cost I was bought. There is no room for pity, and certainly no time to be spent living in license. I was called to do the work of Christ by the blood of Christ and that is what I must do.