When was the last time that you felt like “throwing in the towel”? How did you handle the despair that threatened to drown you? Did you begin questioning God’s will for your life? Is there a way for you to walk in royalty while wearing the “rags” that life has thrown at you?
These are the feelings I struggled with this past week and felt more like a tattered beggar than a royal queen! I will share a bit of this week’s journey, not to receive pity, but to share how God prepared me for the events of this week, enabling me to endure.
We arrived home a week and a half ago after one of our fall banquet tours. Our schedule has been full and rather intense since then. We needed to invest much time in preparation for three long and tiring days at two different recording studios. Since we had this on top of our frequent ministry tours, there have been a number of things neglected at home. After I felt our lives couldn’t get much fuller, our two-year old little girl fractured her foot! It has been a big challenge to care for her since she needs almost constant care and distraction from the pain. She has been unable to sleep well and wakes up crying. After a few nights of little sleep, I have felt nearly exhausted. Since we are usually only at home for a short window of time, we had some appointments that were scheduled for our daughter, Alisha. One of these appointments involved an overnight trip to a new heart transplant center. So far we have had six different doctor appointments in the past six days.
Since we haven’t had time to unload the motor home yet from our last trip, the dirty laundry in both the house and the motorhome was threatening to take over! We were living half on the motor home and half in the house, so I felt like I had two houses that were a mess. There were dirty beds, laundry, and dishes in both places, and I wasn’t able to work on it due to caring for my two-year old. This meant that my two older daughters had to work on it and weren’t able to complete their school work AGAIN. The clothes that needed to be ironed from our last tour, still had been untouched, and here we were, needing to pack up again in the next two days. On top of my already stressed emotions, I have also been feeling a bit more unsettled and vulnerable because next week is the second anniversary of our son’s “home-going”.
I had been feeling the dam beginning to crumble, and it finally broke! I went to the back of our motor home, and in the midst of the piles of dirty laundry, I began weeping and crying out to God. “It’s just not worth it! Why, God, are we doing this? If some people see our life style as glamorous, I will GLADLY trade with them! God, I just can’t handle it any more!”
After I was finally done with my complaining and crying, I was silent before the Lord. This was when He could begin speaking to me in His still, small voice. He reminded me of the message that we heard at church this past Sunday. (“Raised up With Christ” by Norm Wakefield) The timing of it was truly from God and so relevant for our family. It was about the royal heritage that we have as children of the King, and how we are now reigning with Christ.
Do you remember why so many people missed Jesus first coming? It was because they were looking at it through an earthly lens, and He never fit their criteria of a king. You see, they never expected the new “King” to be born in a stable, but in a palace! Even Jesus’ followers didn’t expect Him to be crucified after only a few years of ministry. This isn’t exactly royal treatment for a king. Kings don’t suffer and die on a cross! Kings decide who gets put on a cross. They live in luxury, destroy their enemies, and have servants wait on them.
So was Jesus truly the King of kings? How could Jesus be King and yet face suffering? Revelations 17:14 says, “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are.” In Matthew 28:18, Jesus says, “…ALL authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
This is the same way that we typically view our lives as Christians. We don’t think that we should suffer while serving Christ. On the contrary, Jesus has exemplified that kings and suffering DO go together. What we need to remember is that God’s kingdom is not like an earthly kingdom. His kingdom conquers and overcomes with suffering. Jesus conquered by death. On this side of the veil, He never once resembled our worldly idea of a king. If we could see Jesus now on the other side of the veil, we would see Him wearing a crown and ruling as the King of kings. We also conquer by facing suffering and death on this side of the veil, but if we continue to fight “the good fight of faith”, we will some day reign with Him in Heaven. Jesus ruled and reigned on earth by surrendering to His Father’s will. This is the way that we can reign with Him also. Jesus’ life on earth looked like suffering, failure, weakness, and foolishness to those in His day, but from Heaven’s view, He was being the King and was ruling and reigning as one. In John 18:36 Jesus said, “…My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to.”
On this side of the veil, it may look like suffering, but from Heaven’s side, it looks like glory to God. Let’s give God all the
glory that He so greatly deserves! “We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
Let’s look at our lives here on earth as being just a brief stop on our journey from exchanging our rags of suffering to our robes of royalty.