Over the past few days, thoughts have been marinating in my mind about a certain cloud – a weight, a heaviness – that seems to call my shoulder home. I can distinctly recall thinking and cynically snickering to myself as I walked up my three flights of stairs with all of my groceries (because, #onetripordie), this is like every day I come home from work, carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I remember flipping from my left side to my ride side in bed over and over whispering to myself, “Why does it seem like the past few years, I’ve been struggling?” I even sat down and went through my life from January 2014 until now, detailing each struggle that I went through: depression, recovery, heaviness, loss of relationships, recovery, spiritual attacks, joblessness, hopelessness, weariness, more spiritual attacks, severing of relationships, and now back to this mist of heaviness. There were long periods of time where I would cry every couple of days, simply because it became too heavy to carry. And there were times when my only reprieve was behind the lids of my eyes.
So my experiences over the past few years have altered my mindset. They’ve caused me to start to believe that struggle and pain and heaviness and loneliness are what I will face all my life. These are the things that never seem to go away. I haven’t made them my friends, but they seem to know exactly where they can stay whenever they decide to show up. I find myself constantly wondering, “Why me? Why am I always suffering with this? Why does this never seem to fully leave me?” I mean, I’ve been prayed for, Encountered, Re-Encountered, drank the Holy Water and all of it. But this darkness still creeps in. It is discouraging and weakening. I find myself sleeping for hours and hours on end. I struggle to get out of bed in the morning but for reasons much deeper than any of those memes say.
So today, after suffering a little while longer and not being able to find a way to fix this issue that I know I shouldn’t accept, I felt the Holy Spirit lead me to meditate on the Word. I had no idea where to go, so I opened my Bible app and looked for reading plans. I thought to myself, “Surely, I will find something somewhat related to this grey cloud above me.” And I did. This reading plan started with a simple verse in 1 Peter 4. Verse 12 [AMP] says “Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you”. Let’s start at beloved: what an incredible reminder at a time when I think clearly I’m not easy to love and that’s why I’m going through this. The Word reminds us that we are beloved. Next we can address “amazed and bewildered”: these words so accurately describe my questioning and pondering at why I suffer with the things that I do. This to me was saying, “Tadala, we are here to read your mail.” Then the Word goes on to describe this suffering as a fiery ordeal. I think about specific aspects of things that have brought me so much pain over the last few years and especially months and NOTHING RESONATES MORE than describing each piercing wound as a fiery ordeal. Those arrows shot at me were on fire, guys. The picture painted here in the Word is so real right now. My goodness. But then the Word says something so crazy, so insane to my natural mind yet so calming, peace-inducing, true and hopeful to my spirit; it says that these things are taking place to test my quality. I was humbled. This still quietness overcame me and I heard my God, my Father, the Lover of my soul saying, “Tadala, are you true? Will you be true to me?” It quieted every voice of questioning, whining, complaining, wallowing, self-pitying and it shifted my focus onto Him. Onto my trust of who He is and who He has been: my shelter, my strength, my joy, my lover, my intimate friend.
This verse reminds me that this pain I carry, these circumstances that I have gone through, the loss I’ve endured are not strange for someone like me. I say out loud that God is my God, my Father and that I am His daughter and that He loves me and that apart from Him, I am nothing. I am positioned in righteousness in Him. So, it’s not strange, alien, or unusual for me to see this suffering befall me, seeing as to how I have identified myself as someone who God has placed His hand on. Satan is not exactly a fan. So, whenever I have moments where the waves of pain seem too great, I can’t wonder “Why? Why, oh God, is this happening to me?” I have to remember that these things are testing my quality as a servant of God and with the position He has given me in His kingdom as His daughter and a joint-heir with Christ.
There is still healing that must take place. There is still pain that I need to continue to cast over to Him. But I’m not hopeless anymore. And you shouldn’t be either. The Word gives us Life. When I opened my Bible app this evening, I was hoping to get some drips of life to help me keep going long enough to make it to work tomorrow morning. I received so much more. If you’re carrying pain and if you feel that you are suffering, there is hope. His Word showed me that today. Let go of your heavy pain; give it to Jesus instead. Seek His life-giving Word and see how He will give you more than what you came for.