Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Through Samaria

About a week ago, I wrote a blog about how important it is to remember what God has done in your life. I shared some memories that had been swimming around in my head of times when God did amazing, miraculous things. When I was writing it, the truth of what had happened would hit me all over again and I was undone. Like…seriously, a canister of oil was supernaturally transported to my friend’s pocket?! And…wait…I met an ANGEL?!? And…whoa…WHOA…hold the phone…I saw a paralyzed woman WALK?!? That’s CRAZY!! Jesus is so, so, so good!! “God is good, all the time! And all the time, God is good!”
                He’s good all the time. And we forget that. I forget that. I think if we really had an understanding/revelation that He really is good ALL THE TIME…we wouldn’t be so prone to push away the painful memories. The times hurtful things happened to us and all of a sudden, we felt like orphans because our circumstances blocked the sight of our Father. But if He really is good ALL THE TIME…that means remembering times when we didn’t feel (and…to be completely honest…still may not feel) like He was there, much less that He was good.  
                I would love to only remember the good stuff. The stuff that I clearly see on the surface, “Oh yeah! That was good!” Well, yeah, it’s easy to recognize the good in memories like seeing an angel and a paralyzed woman get healed. But what about the times when my siblings, mom and I were either down in the basement or downstairs at church& someone would come downstairs, talk to my mom and after she quickly disappeared I was calmly told that my Dad was having another seizure? What about the multiple sobbing sessions because of hurts, grief, stress, anxiety, or confusion that I’ve had just in this past academic year? Who wants to remember that?? I don’t. It comes to mind and my heart aches and I zone out. It’s not fun.
                The other day though, I was remembering a (not as) painful moment from last semester. I was remembering driving to church by myself. I was so lonely. It made me sad to remember how alone I used to be. Then I thought of how just that very morning I had driven to church with my friend Heather and how this had become a regular thing. All of a sudden, that memory wasn’t as painful anymore! He was there! He saw! He had a plan the whole time! That’s when I realized that…as much as I don’t want to…I need to remember the painful things too.
                 I don’t think it is a unique claim to say that I don’t want to remember painful moments in my life. I don’t think anybody truly wants to remember the moments where we felt pain. But we have to. Because, the thing that I realized is, is that someday…we’ll get it. Someday we’ll see the outline of God in that situation, we’ll see what He was doing, we’ll see that He was THERE. We’ll see. And in the time when we have to remember and it still doesn’t make sense, it teaches us to believe that God is good no matter what. When new hard moments come our way, it teaches us to say, “Well…I know that thing in my past was painful…and though I don’t know what He was doing, I know God was still there and that He was good. So He must be here and He must be good now.” Remembering past pain and believing that God was there and was good in what He was doing even when we don’t see it develops faith and perseverance (1 Peter 1:6-7).
 Also…it’s important to remember, because Jesus remembers.
                In John 4, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at the well. Before the story unfolds, John tells us that “Now He had to go through Samaria.” Um. No He didn’t. From what I recently learned in my New Testament class, was that Jews in their travels from Galilee to Jerusalem and vice versa took a longer round-a-bout way to avoid going through Samaria(due to their deep prejudice for Samaritans). Jesus didn’t HAVE to go through Samaria. But He did. He goes through Samaria and He meets her where she is and calls out all her pain, all her sin, and still loves her. I think the Holy Spirit is painting a picture here of what Jesus does with us and our pain. Unbeknownst to us, He walks through our own Samaria. He walks through the own moments and memories and events in our life that cause us pain, hurt and rejection. He COMES TO US and meets us WHERE WE ARE. He comes to us in the midst of our Samaria. We don’t know that He’s walked through it, which is why we’re so shocked when He calls out our crap. And then…possibly even more shocked, when He doesn’t send us away. When He humors our attempted diversions from the subject matter. When He brings us back to the truth, which is that He is the Messiah and He knows us…and He loves us. There’s a reason why the woman at the well ran into town and essentially said, “Come see this guy who knows every single secret about me!” She could trust Him. She had faith in Him. She knew He was there. She knew He was good. She had healing.
                One of my favorite Jason Upton songs is, “Trust Once More”. Every single time I listen to it, it touches the sore places of my heart. But it’s so beautiful. One of the last lines really sums up to me why we must remember…even if it’s painful.
I don’t know where you come from.
I don’t know where you’re going.
I only know the healing starts
When we all stop running.

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