CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Abundant — not easy — Life
By Desirae Tucker
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Life is hard. I wish I could say that it wasn't but that is just one truth that we must accepted. I wish that I could tell you that once you accept Christ and become God's child this would change, but I can't. I wish that there was a prayer that would make everything better, but there is not. It is in these moments of frustration and struggle that we, as Christians, pull out all our pretty, embroidered signs and framed verses meant to make everything better.
"I have come that you may have life and life abundantly." — John 10:10bNow, these verses are undeniably encouraging and uplifting; however, I caution that when separated from the rest of Scripture they can do damage to your faith and trust in God. Many people today have a very harmful false belief about being a Christian: "Once I am a Christian, life will be easy and 'abundant' in all good things." I am here to tell you that this is not the case. While, yes, there are wonderful and amazing gifts that come from being a follower of Jesus, it's not all roses and rainbows.
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." — Jeremiah 29:11
"Those who wait on the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." — Isaiah 40:31
When I was young, I heard all these verses and thought all these things. I figured that if I followed God then my "blessing" would be an easy life. Boy was I wrong! I dreamed about what my life would be like when I was older. I loved, and thrived, in the game of volleyball and I just knew that I would play professionally. I dreamed that I would get married young, have a few kids, and live in a nice house with a few dogs in the big back yard. My family would travel and we would enjoy making the same memories that I did growing up, money would be no problem, and my family would be happy and healthy. This dream was shattered when I was just 16 years old, and set me on a path of rediscovering what an "abundant life" really means.
It all started with a volleyball. Yes, you read that right, a volleyball. It rolled under the net, I landed on it, and both my dreams and my body came crashing to the ground. In that split second, I lost a huge part of my dream forever. After my second surgery to reconstruct my knee, the doctor told me that I would never play competitive volleyball again. He didn't care that I was looking at an athletic scholarship, or that all of who "Desirae is" was wrapped in that game, he simply looked me in the eye and told me it was over. I was devastated. How is this "abundant life?" God why would you take away the one thing that made me, well me? How is this a plan "to prosper me and give me hope?" I thought I was supposed to "run and not get weary," but here I am barely able to walk. How could this be God's good and easy plan for my life?
These questions only became more desperate over the next ten years. First came a diagnosis of an inoperable cyst in my brain, which they originally thought was cancer, and being told that I should get used to the excruciating migraines being a regular part of my life. With it came the regular MRIs and a brain biopsy to find out exactly what we were fighting. Shortly after this diagnosis came the "Bell's Palsy" or paralysis of one side of my face, a blood and autoimmune disorder diagnosis, a third knee surgery resulting in a blood clot that reached my lungs and nearly ended my life, a lung injury that requires a surgery once a year, broken ribs from a fall, and then another knee injury that left me unable to walk at all. I was told by a doctor that due to a severe case of PCOS, there was less than a 1% chance I would ever have my own children. Not to mention the bills that come with having so many medical issues.
While dealing with all the medical "crap," life still had to go on. I still went to school and graduated, then I was expected to go to work every day no matter how I was feeling, and it was still expected of me to show up to Church ever week. I was also dealing with the death of three grandparents, one of who was like a father to me, and other family and friends with whom I was close to. Here I was, way past the point of my life when I thought all my "dreams would come true," alone and no prospect of that changing any time soon, and not even able to have a family if God did bring me the right man. With each additional weight, I grew more are more resentful of God. How could this be His good and easy plan for my life? How could a "loving" God expect one person to go through so much pain and suffering?
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Published on 4-17-17