Faith

Good Goes Hard – FaithGateway

 

Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”  — Genesis 3:12

I’ve got to be honest with you. When God challenged my heart toward Eve, it shifted the way I related to Adam. At first, I felt bad for the guy. I mean, Adam was out there minding his own business, doing what he’s supposed to do, when Eve comes over and sets him up for failure.

All that changed when I started relating to Eve. Through that lens of compassion, I saw Adam’s response to God regarding what occurred in the garden as throwing Eve under the bus. “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). My allegiance to Eve has forced me to consider a new plan when I make it to heaven. I need to do what any good friend would do — confront her friend’s partner about him trying to make her look bad in front of the guy in charge. I have it all planned out in my head.

SCENE 1

SJR ENTERS PEARLY GATES OF HEAVEN AND HEADS TOWARD GOLD BOULEVARD

Angelic music begins to play. SJR looks around her in wonder, then spots Adam at a worship service. SJR walks with passion toward Adam.

SJR clears throat and begins to whisper.

SJR: Excuse me… ’scuse me… You don’t know me, but I’m from Earth. I did time from 1988 to 2088. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about what happened in the garden because it’s been upsetting me and my homegirls. Why didn’t you do a better job at trying to protect Eve?

SJR’s voice begins to rise.

SJR: Like, when you first saw her in the garden, you was all like, “Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone. She shall be called woman.”

SJR’s voice now at full yell.

SJR: When you first met her, you were all like, “WWWOOOOO-man,” but when she messed up and the big man found out, what did you tell him?

SJR head tilt, lips poked, and dramatic pause.

SJR: All of a sudden, she’s “the woman You gave…”

SJR is escorted out of heaven by Gabriel and Michael.

END SCENE 1

After playing out that scene with a few reruns, I knew I needed to go back to the text to reconcile my feelings toward Adam. Can you blame me? My loyalty has limits, and I’m not going to hell or jail for nobody! Also, if you’re taking notes, you need to know that you can’t be petty in heaven. So if you have “aught” in your heart toward someone, you’d better find a way to get that resolved before you get to those pearly gates.

I began the hard work. I knew I had to be willing to see things from his perspective and not through the lens of my newfound affinity for Eve. I closed my eyes, went back to the garden, and imagined being Adam before Eve.

THE FIRST MAN, ADAM

The lone human in a buzzing world of animals, birds, rivers, mountains, and sea stands he. Utilizing his creativ­ity to give unique names to every creature, he takes in the good that is God’s gift to him. The first to observe the un­ disturbed, intricate detail God has placed into manufactur­ing his home, Adam sees the earth the way it was meant to be. Loneliness is not even a worry or concern, yet God knows one day it will emerge. So into a slumber Adam is placed while the finishing touches to the earth are traced.

Until this moment no species that looks like him has been in his view, and then, with the fluttering of his eyes, Eve comes into view.

Imagine the joy and elation he possesses in finally see­ing a creature that looks like him. At the time that God says it’s not good for man to live alone, man wasn’t requesting a friend or a counterpart. God answered his prayers before he could even pray them. Then Adam worshipped God for knowing him better than he even knew himself.

He gets to live in the beauty of that blessing for only a brief time because, well, you know… he shares the world with the woman, and they are surrounded by noth­ing but goodness, beauty, and grace. Then suddenly it all changes. What happens in the garden does not just result in the fall of humanity. For Adam it represented a shift in main­taining trust when something that God gives you goes from good to hard.

A CURSE OR A BLESSING?

Rehearsing that visual was when the ice melted from my heart and I was able to fully relate to what it must have been like to be Adam. We have several moments of biblical precedent inviting us on a journey of observing what happens when something that starts off as a good thing becomes challenging. Like when Joseph was placed in prison after already being sold by his brothers or when the children of Israel began rebelling against Moses or when Jesus was in the garden praying until drops of blood fell from His head. If you’ve ever experienced such a moment, then you know that the first thing we begin doing is wondering if it was God in the first place.

We talk so much about the euphoria and peace that come when we’re in God’s will, but I would not be responsible if I did not prepare you for the moments when good goes hard. You’re going to make some decisions, and when you make those decisions, there are going to be some moments when you know you’re in God’s will.

But sometimes you are also so tired and weary that you aren’t sure whether or not you want to stay in God’s will.

It’s like when a woman makes the decision to be celibate, but then dating becomes a gazillion times harder. Or when you choose to quit the addiction, then realize you won’t be able to hang out with your friends without being tempted. You choose to save money, but then you’re no longer living the lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to. You thank God for the children, but the children are driving you crazy. The examples are countless, but the feelings are similar.

Good doesn’t always equal easy, and easy doesn’t always mean that it’s good.

Now that we’ve established the likelihood of having a tough time even when you’re doing the right thing, I know what you want to ask: How should I respond when what started off as good becomes hard?

I’m glad you asked! Hopefully you’re already beginning to receive some comfort in knowing that you don’t have to experience guilt for being overwhelmed or confused about how you feel toward what you know is a blessing. I’m also praying that this serves as a sort of preparation for women venturing out of their comfort zone. I need you to remember that just because something gets hard doesn’t mean it’s not of God.

Becoming the most divine version of who you are doesn’t mean that you’ll avoid challenges or difficulties. I know this because I’ve studied the life of Jesus and it was not all smooth sailing for Him. I know you’ve had this thought, too, but I’m wondering if you’re really okay with this truth.

I think most of us subconsciously believe that surrendering our comfort and pursuing a life that allows God to lead us and guide us should guarantee peace, joy, loyalty, health, provision, and protection. We live with this in our subconscious, and when things happen that are in direct opposition to that belief, we become frustrated and hurt because we thought that our sacrifice would result in perpetual satisfaction. Remember how I told you about God being able to work out all things for our good? Well, in the process of God working, we sometimes don’t have a clue what’s going on. Not only do we not have a clue, but we often begin to resent that we even trusted God in the first place.

Can we be real? If you were Adam, wouldn’t you have wondered whether you were better off by yourself? When God brings a person or opportunity into your life and you no longer feel as blessed as you did when you first met them or received it, I think you have to ask yourself, Did the blessing change, or did I change?

There are so many definitions of blessings, but for the sake of this context, I’d like to define a blessing as God allowing His resources to become our own.

Everything that makes our world function began as an idea in God’s mind that He extended to Earth. Whether He gave humanity the idea and then facilitated the moments that would bring it to life, or He set it in motion at the beginning of time, blessing is just what God does. That’s why every morning I wake up is another blessing. In the beginning, God breathed His breath into humanity. So each morning when I wake up, I’m able to say, “Thank you, God, for allowing me to borrow Your breath today.”

Meditation is so powerful because it forces us to take intentional breaths. When we breathe intentionally, we’re able to still our mind and bring peace to our spirit. The same thing happens when we’re worshipping, praying, or in a service. Why is that? Because when we meditate, we’re awakened to the power of our own breathing. That power has a source. Take an intentional deep breath. You just breathed in a blessing.

Sometimes I get so caught up in my tasks and list of things to do that my work starts to feel like work when it started off feeling like a blessing. My work is a blessing. God allowed me to borrow His creativity, gifts, and talents to begin my ministry. I wake up some mornings and see the blessing that is my husband. My marriage is a blessing because God extended my husband to me. The same goes for my friends, children, and parents. God is so generous toward us that something can even start off a curse and end up a blessing. A blessing is only a blessing as long as we see it from God.

The moment we begin to see the blessing as our norm, responsibility, or burden, the value begins to decrease because we no longer honor it as coming from God. If you know for a fact that your job is a blessing from God, but your boss tap-dances on your last nerve, I want to challenge you to not let that boss hijack your blessing mentality. Now, girl, don’t get it twisted. I’m not telling you to be a pushover and just take whatever happens to you. I’m suggesting that when confronting whatever is standing in the way of you seeing your blessing properly, remember it all began as a blessing.

If your marriage is from God and your husband starts stressing you out, it doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t justified, but I would challenge you to ask yourself if the version of you who saw your husband as a blessing is showing up in your marriage every day. How can the version of you who sees your husband as a blessing communicate what you’re feeling while staying mindful that he is from God?

The same is true for every good and perfect gift that God has brought into your life. Whether it’s a job opportunity, a child, a school, or a parent, we must strive to live in the consciousness that the blessing came from God. That means the solution to the dilemma can only be found when we honor that God is in it.

I believe that soul care, not to be confused with self-care, begins with taking inventory of the areas of our life where we feel a burden but once felt a blessing.

Excerpted with permission from Woman Evolve by Sarah Jakes Roberts, copyright Sarah Jakes Roberts.

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Your Turn

I wish I could share more of this book because SJR is so good she makes me want to stand up and throw my shoes! What area of your life feels like a burden but started off as a blessing? ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full

 

 

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