The past few weeks have been difficult. It was in this difficulty that I was forced to stay at home as I needed time to heal emotionally and physically. I have been longing for rest for probably a couple years now. I know, it’s sounds a little strange — not a day or two, but a couple of years, and yet I think that a lot of people can relate to this. It’s the routine in life that you find yourself in. It’s the day in and day out. Meeting deadlines and trying to extinguish little fires that grab your attention.
It was in this rest that I picked up a book I found from underneath my coffee table. I had been eyeing a book from my husband’s spiritual formation class. Now that his spring semester is over I took the liberty of reading it. This book, “Beloved Dust” by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel, is exactly what I need to read in this time of my life. Do you ever feel that way — that you happen to pick up a book or a someone hands you a book that speaks to your season in life? I often feel this.
I haven’t finished the book yet but one thing that has stood out to me is this: “All our limitedness, our frustrations with ourselves, and our inabilities are gifts from God. They are all moments of grace calling us to depend fully on God and to proclaim, ‘Without you I can do nothing!'”
The world tells us that life is about being independent, healthy, fabulous, productive, hard working, beautiful, filling up our life with more gadgets and noise. Some of the things I just rattled off are not bad things at all, if we don’t let the world define those things for us. The reality is that life does not turn out the way that you dream it to be. No matter how much we strive, we will always fall short. No matter how much we plan, organize, and calculate the costs, there will be something that we couldn’t prevent or foresee. And yet in every step of disappointment I realize that every disappointment leads to a reflection and a knowing of how small I am. My abilities are limited. My smarts can only carry me so far. In “Beloved Dust” the authors call these things “gifts from God.” In the moment these do not seem like gifts. These disappointments we go through feel like curses. It feels as if God doesn’t care. But I wonder how I would handle and view these seeming roadblocks in life if I thought of them as God’s grace. God’s gift to me.
The world teaches us to strive harder when we’re knocked down and maybe crush some people along the way, to rely on ourselves even more, and to fill our lives with things that make us busy. But the Lord is telling us to lean on Him. To rest in Him. To talk to Him. To know that this is all a gift.
How utterly paradoxical and upside down from the world.
These are some thoughts these days as I process pain, sadness, and disappointment. I’m not at all saying that pain or hurtful things in life should be viewed simply as lessons from God or that we should not recognize our grief or even just brush them off and pretend to be happy. On the contrary, I’m learning that in the lowest points of our lives, God is with us and as we talk to Him He takes us into a deeper understanding of who He is and who we are in light of Him.
And sometimes, as in my case, He forces us to rest and face our emotional and spiritual state head on. It’s not pretty, but it’s quite liberating to know that you are completely known by Him and yet completely loved by Him.
“Beloved Dust.” Isn’t the title beautiful? It’s sobering to know that the God of all the universe is interested in us, mere dust, and desires to heal our pain and share with us His heart. We have nothing to offer Him and yet He calls us beloved.