When God Slaps You in the Face

I feel so angry. Disappointed. Let down by God. I debated sharing this because I knew other Christians, or just people in general, would compare my pain to others. Tell me to get over it. But, I quickly realized that I shouldn’t care too much about people who try to minimize one person’s pain by comparing it to another. And, I should care more about authenticity and be honest about the real disappointments, and questions, of my faith than with keeping up with a “my life is perfect” image that everyone tries to paint on social media. So, here it goes.

I feel like God slapped me in my face and just left me this week. I know those are big words, but that’s exactly how I feel right now. Every time I’ve thought about God in the past week I’ve become angry and pushed any thought of Him from my mind. My Bible has remained closed and my Bible app has remained unopened. Because I feel mad and I feel hurt. And if God is as big as I think He is, He can take it.

My entire life I have desired financial security (I see your eye rolls now). I grew up around really poor people. People who had to work three jobs to make ends meet; women who bounced around from boyfriend to boyfriend just to have a place to stay; people’s whose trailers were literally falling apart but they couldn’t afford to get it fixed. The desire for financial security has consumed me. Just about every choice I’ve made since I was sixteen years old was governed by the desire to never experience poverty again. I went to college, I got four degrees, I worked five jobs during my senior year of college, I chose a law school that I thought could get me a big job. And now I feel like all of my planning, all of my work, was for absolutely nothing.

This summer I worked as a summer associate at one of the largest firms in the country. I loved my work. I loved the challenge of my assignments. I loved my co-workers. And I loved the financial security that came with the job. I thought I was set. When I found out the firm wouldn’t be able to hire me, I didn’t worry. I had done everything right during law school: I got decent grades (not the top, but above average) and I joined all of the clubs and honor societies I was supposed to. 400 job applications and hundreds of rejection letters later I was feeling hopeless. Then, I got an interview for my dream job. Literally, my exact dream job. I went through three rounds of interviews and fell more in love with the firm. Thank you, God…I thought…this is perfect, now I see why I didn’t get those other jobs.  Everyone I knew thought I had the job in the bag. Needless to say, I was shocked when I got the unpersonalized rejection letter. How could you do this to me? I prayed. Because that’s the tough thing: I believe God can do absolutely anything. So He chose not to open this door. He heard me beg, and He closed it anyway. He chose to hurt me and to rip away a dream I had been chasing my whole life.

I know the verses about God’s provision. I know the verses about God being a good God and Him only desiring good things. I have seen things that I thought were awful work for my good. But, I don’t see this one getting fixed. And y’all, I am just so angry with Him. I had been working towards this for YEARS, ya-ears. And now all of my dreams (at least for the next five years) look radically different. Things I wanted to do, ministries I wanted to support, are no longer possible. And now, the fear of living in poverty is consuming my almost every waking moment.

So, I had this weird thing happen. On Thursday night after Bible study, one of my friends took me out for dinner. On our walk back to the subway station from the group he asked me how my week was. I started crying, then sobbing, as I told him about the job. I knew my friend was facing big, life-altering challenges of his own and I wrongly assumed he would tell me, “It’s just a job” and compare my struggle to what he was going through. But he didn’t. Instead, he listened. And he brought me into this subway shop, bought me a panini, and told me, “Tell me how you feel.” I started off slow telling him I was angry, and he kept saying, “but is that really how you feel?” And each time he asked that, and listened, I took off the protective shield and the rule you have “growing up Christian” that you don’t complain about your own problems because there is “some starving child in Africa who has it worse.” Amiright? This guy sat there for two hours and let me cry and tell him how mad at God I was, how let down I was, and all of the big fears of my life. Did I feel better after the two hours? Honestly, not really. My problems weren’t fixed. No divine lightning bolt was sent. But, in those two hours, I felt known. I felt heard. I felt listened to in my worst moment. And y’all, that’s powerful.

This isn’t meant to be some happy, warm and fuzzy, post. It’s supposed to be real. I hope you’ve never had your life’s dream crushed. I hope you’ve never felt utterly let down by God. But I know you have. To you, me not getting this job (or any job) may not seem like a big deal to you. But it’s a huge deal to me. It’s my life’s dream. Just like you’ve had big let downs, whether that be a failed relationship, infertility, infidelity, or an unexpected death of a loved one.

But, what I had hoped to share, and encourage you to do, is not to compare your pain to that of another. Your pain is real. It’s valid. It’s painful. Everyone hurts for different things. When someone trusts us with their hurt, we should never, ever compare it to someone else. Ever. Hurt cries out to hurt. And we are told to weep with those who weep.

So, I’m not concluding by saying God did some miracle. To be brutally honest, I’m still very angry. I know my God is a big God, and I know he can take my anger. I’m not a theologian or a minister, but I wanted to let you know, that if you’re angry, if you’ve been let down like I have, you’re not alone.

xoxo
Krista

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Dear Christians: Muslim Refugees Are Coming, Get Excited!

refugees

Dear Christian:

Are you excited about the refugees entering our country? Specifically, the Muslim refugees from countries such as Somalia and Yemen (where President Trump’s executive order to block migrants from these countries was just overturned)? If you say “no,” I understand. I do. Even though Christ promised His followers they would be persecuted and suffer for Him, we still want to be comfortable. I want to be comfortable, too. But our job as Christians is not to be comfortable, it’s to spread the Gospel: that Jesus Christ, God incarnate, looked upon our broken and pitiful state, lived a perfect human life, was tortured upon a cross bearing our sins, so that anyone, anyone who calls upon Him will be saved from eternal separation from him.

We’re told to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15). But, modern politics has made this difficult. As missionaries from the United States, it is difficult for us to enter some of the most unreached and desperate countries, such as Somalia and Yemen. So, you know what God is doing? God is bringing them here. How flipping cool is that?

Now, I’m not saying God caused the wars or the famines that are causing one of the greatest migration of people ever, but God is good. He is redemptive. He pursues. Although the sinfulness of corrupt leaders may be causing millions to be displaced, God is working for redemption. One of the ways, I believe, He is working to redeem and restore is bringing refugees and Muslims to the United States. Although missionaries may be barred from entering Yemen, for example, we are now living literally right next door to these individuals. It saddens me that churches would be eager and willing to spend thousands of dollars and risk their lives to reach a family in Yemen, but when that same family comes to the United States, these same churches protest and close their doors. We must not do this, friends. These individuals have had their spirits broken (we know God is close to the broken-hearted). They are desperate for the Gospel and we can share it with them.

Crazy Love

To me, one of the craziest things about Jesus is that he understands. He can empathize. The King of the Universe was born in a filthy and disgusting stable in poverty and fled his home country as a refugee. Jesus can empathize with the refugees because He was one. Jesus loves refugees, and, throughout the Old Testament, God commands Isreal to love the foreigners living among them. In the New Testament, Jesus demands we love our neighbors AND our enemies as ourselves. Do you want to be hungry? Do you want to be cold? Do you want to watch your children be murdered in front of you? NO! Loving our neighbors and enemies as ourselves, then, means ensuring they are not treated a way we would not want to be treated.

Now, I get it. Meeting people who are “different” than us is difficult. They look different, they may speak a different language, we may have no idea what they’re eating. It sounds silly, but these things can be terrifying. I’ve been to nearly 20 countries and have had the privilege of visiting many homes abroad. It feels really, really awkward because we naturally notice the differences instead of the similarities. But we as humans have so much more in common than we do different. Although we don’t speak the same language we all feel joy, we all feel sorrow, we all want a safe world for our children to grow up in. Your new refugee neighbors will need help assimilating to our culture, and you can befriend and help them, and build a friendship along the way.

So, fellow Christians, get excited! Let’s welcome these new neighbors of ours with the same enthusiasm as we would have sending missionaries to their countries. I’m excited to welcome my new neighbors, and am seeking ways to know and support them. I would be more than happy to help you find resources in your community where you could donate time or money to help welcome these refugees.

xoxo

Krista