I have a lifelong friend who is struggling with the middle aged blues. She was widowed at 49 after 20 years of marriage. She wants to be married. She just had a relationship implode. I wrote her, thinking I was encouraging. I said:

I don't understand why some of us spend a lifetime alone with no heart to share while others bounce heedlessly from heart to heart. I don't understand why some ache for a baby that never comes while others neglect the babies they easily conceived. I don't know why some prosper with no talent, no wit, no drive, while enlightened souls struggle for daily bread.

 What I do know is that I have been blessed beyond measure even though I haven't always recognized the blessings until almost too late. I know that I have received mercy and grace beyond measure. And I know that God's love and care is beyond reproach. And I know you know these things too. Take rest in Him dear girl.

Her response bothered me greatly. Will you explore it with me beyond the squiggly?

She said: “I don't understand either except that most of this life isn't at all what He had in mind for us.” This is a theme for her. The Enemy is stealing our joy. We are living in a world distorted by sin and so we struggle daily just to get by. If this was a recent attitude- situational depression, I could understand it. But this is her interpretation of the Christian message. God is perfect so if anything is imperfect it is a deliberate strategy of the Devil to rob our joy or shake our faith.

When my dad died (about 5 years after the death of my friend’s husband), she whispered to me that I would be overcome with darkness and that this was not what God had for us this wrenching of the soul from the body. I felt a peace with my Dad’s passing. He had struggled for 20 years with Alzheimer’s. He was safely in the arms of God. It seemed all part of the cycle of life.

Is this how you see the world? Am I too unaware of the clouds around me? Or is my friend robbing herself of joy? Is this why the Church seems so cruel and unyielding in the social issues of the day? Is this why the religious right is so concerned with punishment and control? Is it commonly held belief among Christians today that we are always an eye blink away from darkness?

I have always held to a triumphant faith. That we struggle against the barriers we come up against, we mourn, we rage, but God is in charge and we know the end of the book. This dark brooding faith is new to me and I just don't get it. When I interact with my friend and those in her Church I am a bit uncomfortable with their imprecations against those who don't believe as they do. Too many people, including me are shut out, even though we serve the same God.


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