Acceptance, Pt. 3: Acceptance of the World
So you spilled coffee on your outfit this morning. Traffic was a mess. Issues at work are starting to look like rising flood waters, and you just found out your car is going to need a repair to the tune of about $500.
Maybe it’s bigger stuff. You’re having real struggles in your relationship and wondering if this is “the end.” You or someone you love is facing a serious health crisis. The job offer fell through, the mortgage is two months past due, the person you love just walked out the door and isn’t coming back.
I wrote about accepting yourself, and accepting other people, but sometimes it can be most difficult to accept what life throws your way – to live life on life’s terms. It feels like it isn’t fair, like you’re being punished, like God just isn’t there for you.
The more minor day-to-day things (spilled coffee and bad traffic) are often just a matter of perspective – taking a deep breath, realizing this isn’t the end of the world, maybe even finding a way to laugh at it all. Today just isn’t your lucky day.
The more serious things … those are harder to wrangle. One of the big questions people have about the existence of God often centers around, “if God is such a loving and just God, why do I have to suffer? Why does tragedy happen? Why is there so much pain?”
I can’t offer much insight into that, and I don’t think I have an answer that’s going to satisfy someone asking that question. When I think of two of the biggest tragedies of recent times – Sandy Hook Elementary and 9/11 – I think of men with poisoned minds carrying out terrible actions against other people. These are human actions, not God’s will. But, it’s a difficult question to answer too when it’s something like a cancer diagnosis, a car accident, a natural disaster.
My own belief is that God is a loving God who does not want us to suffer and feels our pain along with us. He can’t always prevent tragedy from happening. But he wants to comfort us, and let us know we are loved. When we are ready to hand it over, and if we ask, he will take our pain from us. (I know this to be true because I’ve asked this of him myself, and it’s honestly, truly worked.)
I’ve found the best sense of peace when I’ve truly let go, given up the struggle, and just surrendered to what’s happening around me. Life has gone a lot more smoothly for me when I’m not working so hard to “fight the universe.” When I’m able to see that’s what is happening right now really, really sucks, but still keep faith that it’s going to work out in the end. It’s going to lead to someplace better.
It’s going to carry me to where I’m meant to be. I just have to let go and allow it to happen.