I've been quiet recently. Part of that is because I've been battling almost constant ailments for three weeks now. First it was my back- I suffered a herniated disk and all sorts of tissue damage in June of 2008, and recently it started acting up again. Then, I had a migraine that lasted five days. The sort of migraine that makes one inept for anything other than sleep and Hulu. Then, when I was finally starting to feel human again my dear husband took the "two become one" bit a mite too seriously and shared his nasty, world-pausing cold with me. My last few days have been one LONG sneezing, hacking, wheezing, crying, sinus-pressure, clogged and then watery-spigot joy fest.
That's only part of why I've been so quiet. Another reason is because someone in my neighborhood hates Jesus and those who love him, and posted a link to my blog on some forums for people who love metal music. People called me names the likes of "fat and stupid" to "dumb ho". The person who called me "dumb ho" followed up their edifying moniker for me with, "I hope she gets cancer."
Now, I know that when cloaked in anonymity online the ugliest parts of being fallen sinners come to the surface. I know that said person would almost certainly never say that to my face. I know that this person likely didn't even mean what they said. None of those things made it hurt any less.
|Image courtesy of starush on Flickr|
I am a woman, a living, breathing, human woman who loves her husband and is, generally, a loving, caring person who would go to great lengths to serve others around her. Because of Jesus I have a deep desire to put the needs of others above my own, and I delight in seeing people set free from bondage. There are people who love, treasure, and adore me and I know that I am of great value not only to Jesus but to the people he's placed in my life. Were I to get something so horrible as cancer, and were it to take my life and send me home to Jesus, those who know and love me would be devastated.
When someone says something so ugly, it hurts. The thought that someone could read a line about my husband loving Jesus first and then me "indescribably well" as his second love, and have a desire in their heart for me to get cancer because I love Jesus, makes me ache. At first I was angry, and wished that God would enact his righteous anger and judgment against the person. Then I thought about what a horrible life that person must live, because such thoughts and desires in one who doesn't have Christ reign unchecked. Jesus broke my heart for that person, and I prayed for them. I prayed that Jesus would reveal himself as the God who loves him/her, who died so that person could know love, freedom, and joy. I prayed that their sin against me would be forgiven so that they would not face God's wrath for it.
I won't pretend the comment doesn't still haunt me.
Luke 21:17 says, "You will be hated by all for my name's sake." I Peter 3:17 says that it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. Loving Jesus and being willing to put myself out there for his name's sake, and being hated because of it, is ok with me. I'd rather be hated for loving Jesus than embraced for compromising his truth. That doesn't make it hurt any less than someone wishes cancer, pain, and death upon me but it does remind me that Jesus loves me, that he is a source of refuge, and that he wants to comfort me. He knows better than anyone what it is to suffer for standing on the truth, truth that people didn't want hear or have anything to do with, let alone make the bedrock of their lives. I'm grateful to be hidden in him, and to know that, because he is my life, when he appears one day I'll also appear with him in glory.
Until then, if people hate me for Jesus' name's sake, then I'm grateful that Jesus has counted me worthy to share in his sufferings. I hope that, by sharing this here, I can exemplify how to suffer well and people will see Jesus be glorified and worship him. He's a good God, and he is worthy of all worship. I'm grateful for this chance I have had to worship him through my suffering. And, if you happen to be one of those people who hate Jesus, and me by association with him, and think I'm stupid/fat/lazy/dumb/a ho/etc, I hope that seeing Jesus alive in me is just one more way he is revealing himself to you as the good, loving, patient, gracious, kind and righteous God he is.