I was putting on makeup one morning and the chorus to this song from a playlist caught my attention as it streamed from a speaker in the next room. The artist, Chris Renzema, was asking God to “tear my house down.” In fact, that’s the title of the song.
Why would he ask for that?
My thoughts went back to the time in my life before one of our sons succumbed to a serious mental illness. I am not the same person ten years later, by God’s grace and thankfully so. Fear had a hold on me as I trusted subtley in my own efforts instead of resting in the finished work of Jesus and the reality that he was in fact the one holding me. I was so much more aware of my own failings than I was of God’s love and mercy for me, and I couldn’t seem to tip the scales in the other direction because of that monster called condemnation.
But God, he uses the trials and sufferings in our lives, even the things he hates, to change us. It isn’t because he is angry with us, it’s because of his great love for us. I can tell you honestly today, I would never want to go back to the person I was over a decade ago. Not only has God changed me, but I know him so much more and I am convinced of his love for me now. It’s no longer a truth that seemed outside of my feeble grasp, only for the people who seemed to have it all together. His love is not dependent on me, what I have done or have not done. This is the very character of God displayed most profoundly through the life, death, and resurrection of his son, Jesus Christ.
The late David Powlison describes this process so well from one of my favorite books on the topic of suffering,
“How does God’s grace meet you in your sufferings? We can make the right answer sound old hat, but I guarantee this: God will surprise you. He will make you stop. You will struggle. He will bring you up short. You will hurt. He will take his time. You will grow in faith and in love. He will deeply delight in you. You will find the process harder than you ever imagined – and better. Goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life. No matter how many times you’ve heard it, no matter how long you’ve known it, no matter how well you can say it, God’s answer will come to mean something better than you could ever imagine.” – David Powlison, “God’s Grace and Your Sufferings”
Dear caregiver, God sees your suffering too. He is not absent, distracted by other issues going on in the world. Not only is He aware, but He is actively using your unique circumstances to give you something better than you could ever imagine.
This is my prayer for you in the the New Year,
Father, I pray for any caregivers who may read this or that we have been privileged to meet over the years. First and foremost, if they do not know you and have not put their faith and trust in you, would you please help them to understand the gospel and how to follow you.
I pray for caregivers, who may not be connected to a local church, to find a place where they can fellowship and grow. That you would teach them according to truth in a Bible saturated, preaching church that seeks to follow Jesus. I pray that you would give caregivers the courage to do this despite the isolation they may be experiencing or painful experiences with churches in the past.
I pray for caregivers, that you would give them hope this year in the midst of the surrounding pain, grief, and darkness of serious mental illness or other disabilities. Help them to know that they are not being punished, they are not cursed, but that you do care for them and sympathize with their sufferings and weaknesses.
And lastly, this is the hardest thing to pray, I do pray for caregivers that they would have more joy in seeing and knowing you through their pain than if you answered all of their prayers with relief of their circumstances.
The something better that you seek to give us is yourself. May all of our hearts desire you, God. Yes Lord, tear our houses down. We need something better. – Amen.