I know it may not be an epiphany for some of you, but this is where I work out the thoughts in my head. Hear me out.
Last night, I watched the Glee episode where they said goodbye to Finn. The actor, Cory Monteith, died from a deadly combination of heroin and alcohol. He had gone to rehab more than once, but addiction ultimately claimed his life. He was only 31. He was rich and famous and had a beautiful girlfriend (some rumors say fiancée). His story is one of a kid who got wrapped up in drugs, dropped out of school and was headed nowhere. In a “rags to riches” story straight out of Hollywood, the kid without a future auditioned for a role on Glee and made it. He didn’t get a little bit part either. Cory’s character, Finn Hudson, was the core of the group. In fact, I’d say Finn was what made Glee great. He was the dopey jock that actually cared about people. He was the nice kid that just needed a little encouragement to stand up for his fellow man. He was the cute football player that actually cared enough about the dorky drama chick to go out with her, regardless of what his friends thought. He was that guy you couldn’t hate for his success because he was just so darn sweet. He was the guy who gave you hope when you felt like an outcast. I loved Finn for all that. I loved Cory because he seemed like a genuine nice guy to everyone.
None of that was enough. I think about the struggle he must have fought within himself. I think about how much self-loathing he must have felt when he picked up a bottle or a needle, knowing his girlfriend and family believed he was healing. I think of how he may have felt knowing the whole world was talking about his addiction. I think about the pressure celebrities are under. I think of a sad soul who destroyed his life. Because life is hard.
I read a blog post today from a missionary in Cambodia who helps victims of sex trafficking. It broke my heart. I thought about all those broken people living in slavery, subjected to horrible situations. I thought about a culture where it’s ok to sell your daughter to feed the rest of the family. I thought of girls who volunteer to prostitute themselves to help out. I thought of government officials and police who overlook things because girls aren’t valuable enough to care about. Because life is hard.
Then I thought about my stepmother who died last week, our dog that died Monday, and the fact that I’m still waiting for a job. I remembered crying together as a family. I remembered my ongoing struggle with depression. Because life is hard.
When I get down and feel that emptiness inside, people tell me to focus on my blessings. They remind me of how much worse my life could be, and I get it. The problem isn’t just me. I am broken for this world. I can’t wrap my head around someone that takes joy in hurting another person. I hate thinking about “how much worse” life can be because I weep for this fallen world.
The victim of sex trafficking.
The child who is forced into the army.
The girl with the smile on her face that is contemplating suicide.
The homeless person sleeping under a bridge.
The loner who has been bullied and is scared to walk into school.
The weird kid who has trouble making friends.
The rape victim who is disowned by her family.
The rich kid who has money but is ignored by his parents.
And I could go on…
The point is that hearing how much better I have it than others makes me incredibly sad. It also makes me realize that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you live. Life is hard. There will always be someone who appears to have it better or worse, but they struggle too. You may not see it, but everyone is dealing with something. So try to understand and be a little nicer to each other…
If this world is so messed up why are we here? I have contemplated that and prayed about it. We spend years and money and talents searching for our purpose, but I believe it is simple.
We are NOT here to criticize, abuse, and cast stones. We are not here to beat people over the head with legalistic doctrine. We are here to be a light in the darkness. We are here to be Jesus to a lost world. We are here to be living examples of His love.
For you were once darkness, but now you are the light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:8-10
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3
If we know Him we are blessed beyond what can be seen in this life. This is not my home.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." John 14:1-7
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
This world is a mission field, and I am a visitor. Thank you, God! The more I remember that and look to Jesus, the more peace I will have while I am here.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." Mark 16:15
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
Because life is just plain hard, but God's got this!
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
So I choose to look to Jesus for my hope and comfort. He makes this hard life bearable...and I am so thankful my future is not in this world. :)