pity party

So I've been contemplating throwing myself a pity party lately.  I'm usually not much of a moper or a whiner...but this adoption waiting purgatory has suddenly given me the desire to crawl into my closet, slide the door shut and post a sign on the locked door that says "wake me up when life is less difficult".

I would commence my pity party by picking a theme...not so much a "poor me" theme as a "Lord please make this easier, I've had enough of this waiting, this not knowing, this uncertainty, this aching....I'm tired."

I suppose if I waited until this world was less difficult I would have to stay there until Jesus return, so I'm trying to avoid the cowering in a corner technique as a coping mechanism.   

That doesn't mean it isn't hard.  At the moment we have two different types of adoptions being processed in two different countries. Both have not been with out their bumps and road blocks along the way.  I can't write the details of the journey we're on, or even testify to the incredible work that God is doing here because of confidentiality issues but I can write about the refining work the Holy Spirit is doing my my own heart and life.

 I'm rediscovering that the wilderness God leads his people into is not only a place of great difficulty but it's a place of great growth.  It's where I see God's miraculous provision and intimate nourishment in a way that I can't experience it when life's road is smoother.

The stakes are high.   The ache is real.   The cost is felt.   The longing is all consuming.
The risk involved just might be more than I want to bear.

It's tempting to want to lay down and give up, to be crushed, to despair when faced with hard reality.

There is no power of positive thinking, boot strap tugging, or self assured resolve that contend with the depth of human depravity and suffering.  There is no staying power in do-good philanthropy when faced with placing your own heart in a wringer, and your life on the altar.  My comfortable little Christian bubble is burst when I enter into the suffering of another, into the suffering of Christ....at that point I feel the stinging splinters, and burning blisters pressed under a rough wooden plank flung over my shoulders.  
...and sometimes I stumble under the weight of it.   Sometimes it just plain hurts.

So what's a girl to do when tempted to throw a pity party?

Something that doesn't some naturally when inwardly consumed and focused.  Something that can stand face to face with heartbreaking reality.

Seeing with my mind, my heart and my spirit, Jesus in all his power and glory sitting on the throne.

"Holy, holy , holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come." Rev. 4:8

When I know that I can't win this battle against such overwhelming evil,  I'm reminded that Jesus already has.
...I worship and stand in awe of my victorious King.

When I know the road is long, and hard, and uncertain.   I'm reminded that he is sovereign.
...I worship my Lord who works all things for his glory and my good.

When I fall to my knees and weep for an emaciated little boy in an orphanage too far away.    I am reminded that He is a Father to the fatherless...that he sets the lonely in families....that he knows every stubby hair on that shaved orphans head..and there will be justice.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away"  Rev 21:4

When I doubt that I can raise another child with special needs, and I start to realize how truly inadequate I am.   I am reminded that He is the only one who is sufficient and He now lives in and through me.

When I look at who He is, in light of eternity....all these trials become "light and momentary afflictions" and my eyes are set on a prize so much greater..Jesus.

When I worship my Lord for who he has revealed himself to be,  I know that nothing can stand against  him.   I know I am safe in his perfect will, even if my heart and my flesh may fail.

Saying worship (of Jesus for who he reveals himself to be in scripture) is the answer to suffering may seem too trite and simple, but it is intentional.  It is sacrificial.  It is surrender.   It is pure JOY.

My pastor has been teaching through the book of Revelation this summer and it has been such a time of nourishment at a point in our journey that we need so desperately to see Jesus Christ.  Pulling back the veil to see the war we are actively engaged in and refocus my eyes on the Lamb that was slain, the coming King, and our risen Lord.

I've learned SO much through this series, but one thing that stuck out to me was the author's situation. John was an apostle.   When he was given the "revelation" he was a tired, physically worn old man living as a banished prisoner on a remote island.   He had been  boiled alive for proclaiming the gospel... but he didn't die, so they sent him into exile.  Sounds like an ideal time for a big old pity party to me.

Jesus met him there.   The funny thing is Jesus didn't come as an inspirational motivator, or feel good therapist, he came in His glory.   He took Johns weary eyes off of himself, his pain, and his situation and onto things beyond what his eyes were able to see.   (Rev. 1: 9-19)   The message he was given was meant to be read to the suffering Church as a blessing and encouragement to them.  Rev. 1:1-8

"Do not be afraid.  I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead and behold I am alive for ever and ever!"

Some other guys in a pretty wretched situation, named Paul and Silas, had been stripped, beaten, and flogged.  Then their bloodied feet were fastened into stocks in a filthy stinking dungeon cell.

Sounds like an ideal time for a pity party.

"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them"  Acts 16:25


They weren't moaning, and wailing in despair.... strategizing and planning an escape...or even declaring and decreeing that Kings kids cannot be treated in such a degrading manner...


They turned their eyes off of themselves to their great Savior and Lord and out of that flowed genuine joy infused worship.

While they worshiped, God was executing a miraculous escape.

Did they worship because they knew they would indeed escape suffering?

um...I think that would be a no considering they were already battered and shredded, they had watched Jesus crucified, and their buddy Stephen had recently been stoned to death.  Unlike many "church" leaders now they had no delusions that following Jesus meant a comfortable, affluent, stress free life.   They knew it required dying to self daily.

As we pray "break my heart for what breaks yours", we have to be prepared to have our hearts broken for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ.    Around the world, not only hearts are broken, but bodies as well.

When Nehemiah heard of the crumbled wall of his homeland,  he "sat down and wept"..."mourned"..."fasted"...and "prayed before the God of heaven"

He was broken.  He wasn't in denial, he didn't fool himself with positive thinking, he didn't shrug and change the channel on the tv.   He was wrecked over it.  He felt God's heart for that situation and he felt it deeply.

There is a definite difference between a self absorbed, despairing pity party and a deep grief over the pain of a fallen sinful, lost world.

Could Nehemiah have ignored the call saying "not my problem"...he sure could have BUT he chose to enter into it.  He chose to join what God was doing, and obediently hear what God had purposed for him to do.

Next he repented and cried out for God's mercy for himself and for God's people.   (A step we love to skip in our modern, watered down, self exulting, sin celebrating, idol infested, version of Christianity)

Then he got up and put the burden he felt into action, knowing he would face all kinds of opposition along the way.

Why?  Because knew the glory of God, and he remembered His faithfulness.

"Blessed be your glorious name,
and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.
You alone are the Lord.
You made the heavens even the highest heaves, and all their starry host,
 the earth and all that is on it,
the seas and all that it is them.
 You give life to everything and the multitudes of heaven worship you." Nehemiah 9:5-6

"My soul, consider the mightiness of the Lord, who is your glory and defense. He is a man of war; Jehovah is His name. All the forces of heaven are at His command. Legions wait at His door; cherubim and seraphim, watchers and holy ones, principalities and powers - all are attentive to His will. If our eyes were not blinded by the limitations of our flesh, we would see horses of fire and chariots of fire surrounding the Lord's beloved {see 2 Kings 6:17}"
~Charles Spurgeon


Jess said...

Hi Carla,

I just found you through a new friend's blog and I'm so blessed that I did!

Honestly, this post about a "pity party" caught my eye and I could relate. I struggle with waiting on our LORD, but I'm determined to worship HIM because HE is always worthy!!!

My husband I served in Mexico with our 2 children for 6 months in 1996-1997. We also share a love for ministry to the underprivileged, longing to see Christ's Love change lives.

It will be joy to get to know you better. Blessings~


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