Tuesday, January 22, 2019

It's Not Supposed To Be This Way, by Lysa Terkeurst

It's Not Supposed To Be This Way is the latest book by Lysa Terkeurst. As many of you are no doubt aware, Terkeurst and her husband had separated for a time after it was discovered that her husband had had an affair. Quite recently it was announced that they had celebrated their restored marriage with a recommittment ceremony. Christians everywhere erupted at the news, both in favor and against. Why against? There were suspicions that Lysa jumped the gun and might have begun the business of rebuilding her marriage too soon. People do love to speculate on such things which are honestly none of their business in the first place.

For my part, my position is that only Lysa, Art, and their counselors can know all of the ins and outs of this entire thing. I know that they began dealing with her husband's sin out of the public eye for a long time before it became generally known. We didn't all know about it the day she found out about his infidelity. I also refuse to speculate over whether she has made right decisions or wrong ones for this specific reason: I have several friends who have walked the same path, unfortunately. And I've learned enough through their experiences to know that I can't know everything that there is to know and that I don't need to know. Infidelity is a hard, hard road for any person to walk in. The ups and downs are completely unimaginable to me and it truly does break my heart to see a person having to deal and learn to live again under these circumstances. To everyone who wants to critique Terkeurst for her choices, I feel they ought to sit down and probably shut up. Harsh much? That's my opinion.

Now, I didn't read this book because I have walked the same path as Terkeurst. I haven't. (And I don't want to!) Nor did I read it because I wanted to see what Terkeurst had to say about her situation in specifics. Rather, I have my own struggles of which have caused me to make the same statement: "It's NOT supposed to be this way!" We all do. We walk through this world broken whether we want to or not. We have each of us been crushed into dust in some form or fashion. If you haven't been, you will be. We aren't supposed to be surprised at the trials of life (even though we usually are anyway!) but stand at the ready to receive the trials knowing, understanding, and believing that the trials serve a greater purpose in making us more like Christ. This is always and forever going to be a hard pill to swallow but learning to swallow the pill is ultimately better than choking on it.

Terkereurst writes this book to say that while she well knows how difficult life can be, we have hope in a sovereign Lord who knows exactly what He's working out in our lives. At the point in time she was penning these words, her husband was separated from her. She mentions living out her own season of "I don't know" and acknowledges that we all have those moments in life when we aren't standing on solid ground. She talks about how in each trial we face we typically find ourselves somewhere in the middle of Point A and Point B with a complete lack of understanding of how it is we're supposed to keep on keeping on. She calls this the "middle ground" and references it possibly being the hardest part of any trial  - the part where you've gotten over the initial shock but you haven't come to any point of relief just yet. It's a rather fearful place to be, and a lonely one, as any of us who have walked a trial can testify. (See 1 Peter 5:10 and James 1:2-4)

For my part, I received some comfort in this read. No, I don't understand Terkeurst's personal trials but I do understand my own. And I know how very, very alone I've felt and have been made to feel. I know what it means to have the rug ripped out from under you. I know what it means to experience brokenness. I know what it means to feel shut out and uninvited. These are experiences that many of my nearest and dearest friends know too so I know that I am not alone (and I am immeasurably grateful to have such companions on life's journey!). Lysa writes to reach out and touch her readers in the best way she can to say the following:

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that His life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:8-12

Are you feeling broken in some form or fashion? Take heart, friend. Weeping is welcomed and allowed here. God meets us in the truth of our pain and assures us that joy is coming in the morning. That morning might be quite a ways off for some of us, but it is coming because He has already crushed death! The Victor has already been declared.

It's Not Supposed To Be This Way is a good spiritual pep talk and a fierce hug from a woman who has plumbed the depths of heartache and held tight to her faith and is therefore able to rise and say, "I see you, friend. And even if I do not know you very personally, I'm with you." Sometimes that's just exactly the message we need to hear the very most.

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