“Life is pain, Princess. Anybody who says differently is selling something.”
These words of wisdom were spoken by Wesley, the dashing male lead played by Cary Ewes in the hilariously satirical 1987 movie The Princess Bride. His identity hidden behind a black mask, these words are his comeback to Buttercup’s (the female lead played by Robin Wright) complaint that he “mocks her pain”, after making a few smart-aleck remarks about the love of Buttercup’s life, whom, at the time, she believes to be dead. His reply reminds her that life is easy for no one, and that everyone experiences pain in one form or another; he also shows her that one’s response to that pain is what makes them a hero or a victim. Some choose to complain and try to escape their pain through any means possible; but some choose to bear it gracefully, with a positive attitude and a spirit of fortitude. (It’s not long before Buttercup discovers that the man in the mask she has been speaking to is actually her beloved Wesley, who is very much alive.)
But, like I’ve said before, nobody’s perfect. And as human beings, we’re not naturally good at suffering and being happy about it. On our own, we are not capable of bearing suffering with a smile on our face. This is only truly possible through the grace of God.
(Before I continue, those of you who don’t know me should know that I am a devout Roman Catholic. I say this simply because I don’t want you to be surprised if I talk about God, Jesus, the Bible, or the Catholic Church a lot in some of my posts. I firmly believe that the Catholic Church is the one Church established by Jesus Christ during His time on earth; if this bothers you, then I promise I won’t be offended if you no longer wish to follow me. That’s fine. However, I do encourage you to look a bit more into the Catholic Church before making that decision, if only to see if I really do know what I’m talking about.)
This last month has been a pretty stressful one for me, personally. With all the unrest in the world emphasized by the attacks in Paris, freaking out about my very first round of college finals and course papers, and a relationship, I’ve had a lot on my mind, and I must admit that I’ve been feeling pretty worn down. But God is amazing, my friends. Just tonight alone, He has let me know so many times that I am far from being alone. (He also knows that I really need to hear the same message twenty times before it really gets into my thick head.)
Tonight, He spoke to me in words – in beautiful, simple words. One of the things I love most about Him is that, unlike me, He always knows what to say, whether I’m listening or not.
It all started with a note from my secret Santa, which contained the following verse from the Bible:
“And so it was,
That she, having waited long
And endured patiently,
Realized and obtained
What God had promised.”
~ Hebrews 6:15
Whoever wrote out that verse for me, please know that God used you as His instrument to show me how intimately He knows me and how deeply He cares about me. Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, whoever you may be.
I’ve been so worried about my future and about future of the world, and if I was making the right decisions to allow the future I wanted to happen that I neglected to realize that, ultimately, God is the one in control of my destiny. He knows exactly where He wants me and where I need to be to give the most glory to Him and to help those around me.
Then, I sat down to my computer to check my email and whatever. I pulled up my Pandora, and turned on my Matt Maher station because I was in the mood for some worship music (a mood that does not often strike me, I will confess.) And what was the first song to come on? This immensely popular little gem called “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher (click on the link to listen to the song – it’s well worth the few minutes it take to listen to it, if you haven’t heard it before.) To give you a bit of an idea, here’s an excerpt:
“Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here, I find my rest
Without You, I fall apart
You’re the One
That guides my heart
Lord, I need You
Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You.”
This song is one of my top two worship songs of all time. The whole song acknowledges our complete dependence upon God and how wonderfully He takes care of us, because He knows us better than we know ourselves. Some of the things that I’ve felt and experienced in the last month were unexpected and outside my comfort zone, but God was there for me (whether I recognized it or not) and reminded me of His love when I needed to remember it.
I opened my journal, because I like to write about what I’m feeling and what God’s doing in my life, not only because writing helps me to release pent-up anxiety but also because it’s incredibly interesting to go back and read about what I’ve gone through at different points throughout the year and throughout the last few years. And what verse was at the bottom of the page? None other than this:
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
~ Philippians 4:6
I’ve always found it interesting and very beautiful that, even though He knows exactly what we need and desire at every single moment of our lives, God still wants us to ask Him for those things through prayer. One way to think about it is like a mother or a father who knows that their child wants nothing more than a Golden Retriever puppy for his birthday, but they still want the child to ask them for it. This is because in doing so, the child is not only having a conversation with them, and therefore, cementing their relationship, but he is also humbling himself enough to admit that there is no way for him to get that puppy on his own (probably). Granted, that’s probably not the best analogy, but it’s the best I can come up with at 1 am.
To conclude, here are two more excerpts from the Old Testament, which I found in my journal that I had copied onto a couple sheets of looseleaf paper some months ago. I find them both particularly inspiring, and they fit the theme of trust and confidence in God:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom should I fear?
The Lord is my life’s refuge;
Of whom should I be afraid?
…Though an army encamp against me,
My heart does not fear;
Though war be waged against me,
Even then do I trust.”
~ Psalm 27: 1; 3
And my top favorite, my battle cry:
“But as for me, I will look to the Lord, I will wait for God my savior; my God will hear me! Do not rejoice over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will arise; though I sit in darkness, the Lord is my light.”
~ Micah 7: 7-8
On that note, neither this post nor any other words I could speak or write can even begin to describe my immense gratitude to God for loving and showing mercy to a sinful, scatterbrained, and silly loser like me.
Some of you must surely be wondering about the title of this blog. How is it that I can be happy and singing in the rain, even while all the darkness and despair of the world is trying to drown me out?
Because, just like every other human on the planet, without Him, I have nothing; but with Him, I have everything.