I know, it's a strong word. But is there something in your life that you just hate? That seems pointless? That you wish would just leave, and never come back?
I have something like that.
I have the most wonderful little boys in the whole world. One of them, my oldest, has life-threatening food allergies, and he also has asthma.
Although the allergies are terrifying, it's the asthma that gets me.
I hate it with every shred of my being.
You're probably thinking...that's it? That's her thing? How bad could that be? And you're probably right... I probably have lived a pretty sheltered, spoiled life. Compared to what many of you deal with, a child with asthma would be a blip on the radar.
But for me, it's chronically frustrating.
It is a perpetual reminder that as much as I love my children, I'm pretty powerless to help them. It's a reminder that really, I have little to no control over their health.
Despite all efforts - my diet changes, and oils, and cleanings - my son will just suffer sometimes, and there is nothing. I. can. do. about it.
Sometimes - and I'm embarrassed to admit it - I find myself clenching my fists at God. Why, God? This thing is so pointless. Take it away. Get rid of it. I know you can fix it. I hate it. I hate living in this place...Fix it, God, now. It just feels awful.
Do you ever feel like that?
I bet if you don't, you will, or you have. I've been thinking for a while about this place - the place of hating something - and I was reminded of a few things.
Suffering and pain are the rule, not the exception.
I'm so spoiled, I forget this. I get so comfortable on earth that I forget...it's fallen. It's not my home. Well, it's not heaven. But heaven is real, and it is coming.
Others suffer, too, and it's a lie straight from the pit that they don't.
Sometimes my husband and I can start thinking, why aren't we like other families? Why can't we go out to eat without bringing along an epi-pen and stressing about every little ingredient? Why does our five-year-old have to miss soccer games because he's coughing and wheezing? Why do we have to be worried about all this? Why can't our life be easy...like those other families?
But see, it's a lie. Sure, other families may not have this struggle - but they have different ones. Everyone has something.
At the same time, it's okay to grieve.
Sometimes we think we should be "strong," and "accepting," so we stuff our feelings, and gloss over the losses, all the while carrying a silent grudge of discontent and anger. But you know what? It's okay to feel sadness that this life is not what it could be. It takes a bold person to just be sad.
Here's what that looks like for me. God, I hate that there has to be suffering. I'm sad that Sam isn't like other kids. I feel incredibly overwhelmed with the job of caring for him sometimes. Like that. Being honest, and naming what hurts, and being...sad.
I need to dare to ask God to take the thing that seems so pointless, and give it meaning.
That's what He's in the business of doing after all, right? Using bad for good. Make beauty out of chaos. He's been doing it since the Cross. When things look the worst, often, He's working the most.
And I can do something more. I can ask God to show me how it's meaningful.
And then I try to see it - how is this thing I hate possibly good? I can always come up with something.
Truth be told, the Lord has used my deepest struggles - my "interrupted" family plan, even my battles with anxiety - to minister to others. As much as I hate my son's health issues, without them, I wouldn't be sharing this lesson with you. And there are other blessings, too.
Are you struggling with something difficult? Has the Lord ever given you a glimpse of how it is good?