Sunday, November 06, 2005

God vs. Life

I recall watching an episode of the TV show “Touched by an Angel” a few years ago. On this particular episode the guest character was diagnosed with ALS. Scared and facing a debilitating disease that would inevitably lead to death he became bitter, resentful and felt sorry for himself. His wife was an extremely loving and giving caretaker. She tried very hard to be supportive and understanding while at the same time facing her own fears of a future as a widow and young single mother of a 12 year old boy.

It got to the point in the show where the man with ALS had failed so badly that he had to be in a wheelchair. While continuing with a bitter outlook on life, as if he hadn’t been dealing with enough pain and misery, tragedy struck again and his young wife was killed in a car accident. This left him feeling completely helpless and alone. He felt that all he had left was to face death alone and he, in turn, grew more and more bitter. He could hardly get through a day on his own let alone take care of his 12 year old son. He was devastated and severely depressed. That’s when the angel, Monica, stepped in. She was trying to comfort him in his time of need. He was deeply depressed and feeling sorry for himself…and honestly I couldn’t blame him at all. How scary would that be??? I can’t even imagine the depth of his fear.

He broke down and was crying and sobbing. Monica reveals to him that she’s an angel and tries to console him. She tells him that he needs to believe that God loves him. He looked at her with angry confusion and screamed, “If God loves me so much then how could he do this to me?!?! What did I do to deserve this?!?!?!” Monica, with tears in her eyes, said, “Oh, you need to understand that God didn’t do this to you! But he will get you though it!”

The angel's words struck me was an incredible ‘light bulb’ moment! I kept repeating her words so as not to forget them. I knew that someday I would need to remind myself of this fact. Yes, I realize that this TV show was completely fictional, but how many times in our ‘real’ lives do we feel this way? How many times have we said, "Why me?"

My need to keep those words in mind turned out to be completely ironic and almost freaky. About 3 weeks after I saw that show my husband lost his job with no warning at all. He got up and went to work on what we thought to be a typical Friday morning. He came home a few hours later with this devastating news and we realized then that our lives would never be the same.

Needless to say we were overwhelmed with worry, fear, humiliation, panic, etc. Scared and wondering, “Where do we go from here”, we struggled for months to stay sane and figure out what was next for us. Do we move and uproot our kids? Do we stay put and each of us find a job and turn to daycare centers to raise our kids? Do we throw caution to the wind, choose to follow our dream and start a family owned business? I had already started my home business and it was growing, but I was only in year 2 and my profits at that point were still very much in the red. We were constantly questioning ourselves wanting desperately to figure out what to do.

Throughout that fearful time of our lives I kept the thought from that TV show in my mind. I continued to say, “God didn’t do this to us…Life did this to us. God will get us through.” Eventually things did work themselves out. My husband now has his own business and he is happier and more confident than ever. And my business has grown and is flourishing. We kept our faith and we knew that having the rug pulled out from underneath us had happened for a reason. We believed that out of adversity came opportunity. We knew that God would get us through and he (or she) did.

So when Life happens to you just as it did to us (believe me—sooner or later something WILL happen) remember to keep the faith. Remember that GOD doesn’t DO these things to you, but rather LIFE does these things to you. Your faith in God (whatever God you choose to believe in) will give you the strength and the vision to get through the hard times.

As I watch the beautifully colored leaves fly around on this very blustery day I am wishing you a happy fall!

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