The events of the past inform those of the present and the future is a consequence of both. Perspective is the salve that lessens the pain and promotes the healing. I have learned that I am a product not only of the pain I have experienced but also of the joy and without one, there cannot be the other. We will never understand true joy if we do not experience the depths of suffering and we will never learn from the suffering if we do not have the hope that joy awaits.
I am willing to accept that my dad did not have the understanding to be the father that I longed for. He did his best with the knowledge he had in the time and whether I think it was good enough or not does not matter – it will not change the past. I am also willing to concede that the senior pastor that asked me to move on was only operating according to what he believed was right and submission to authority is not only Biblical but teaches you how to lead. I choose to accept that cancer was allowed into my lungs to teach me about healing, perseverance, and compassion; not to defeat me or take away my hope. Struggle and striving are a part of the journey…they cannot be avoided. If I believe that the Lord is in control of all events that happen in my life…and I do…then who am I to question the tool that is in his hand. You cannot blame the hammer for pounding the nail or the nail for piercing the skin.
I could scream to high heaven about the wrongs that have been done to me and demand recompense, and there have been times that I have done just that. It has gotten me nowhere. Each and every event in my life has been a crossroad – be it Dad, my senior pastor, cancer, marriage, new life, or death. At that moment I have been given the choice: stay on the road that Jesus is on…or turn aside and try to move ahead on my own. I have tried it on my own and it has always led right back to the same choice eventually. It is easy to follow through the good times but not so easy to willingly walk into the deep, dark places where despair, fear, and uncertainty lurk. The only thing that has enabled me to choose the struggle is the knowledge that – as I’ve said before – that is where Jesus is ready, willing, able, and waiting to take our hand and lead us through to the joy that waits on the other side.