They say everything happens for a reason. They also say everything will all turn out right. They say a lot of things and there are times I’m not really sure I believe them. There have been times I’ve questioned every single thing, pretty sure things were never going to be alright. I guess some things remain to be seen…
I just finished a book that literally had me sobbing in my bed last night. Turns out The Nightingale was, and is, one of the best books I have ever read. Heartbreakingly, painfully beautiful in the deep soul aching kind of way. A story that makes no sense in the way of it’s overwhelming hatred, suffering and loss and the devastating casualties of injustice, power and control. A story, unfortunately, that continues in so many ways today. Not as overt or far reaching, of course, but still.
We were at war, but there was a subtle one raging inside too. One about integrity, sacrifice, honor and legacy. Courage. About being a part of something bigger than ourselves and fighting for something we believe in. Doing the right thing not to be recognized or applauded, but simply because it was right.
Rarely is the right thing recognized at the time. In war, the “right thing” is more often risky. Irresponsible. Something that goes against the grain; ruffles feathers; suffers incalculable loss.
I look back on my own life and there have been a few things I stood up for that I know were right, and every single one of them cost me something. Maybe even someone. And despite all the ways I was unprepared or imperfect in so many ways, it mattered. It mattered not because of what I did, or how I did it, but because it was the right thing to do. To stand. Rarely do these opportunities present themselves at an opportune time. They interrupt us. They catch us off-guard. They require us to stand up unprepared, ill-equipped and afraid. And fight.
There are injustices going on around us every day. There are people being abused and mistreated and prejudiced against right in front of us every day. We have eyes to see, and ears to hear, and we are called to love. And love is one of the bravest, fiercest fighters of all.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Test your heart. Your own actions. Ask yourself important questions about intent. When I’ve stood my ground or faced an adversary and lost something of value I always go back to question my heart. Did I do what I did to help even if I could’ve done it better? Was my motive self-seeking or pure? Was I trying to be right or do the right thing, even though it was hard? Did I love?
Doing the right thing will rarely feel right at the time. Like the characters in The Nightingale, more often it will feel dangerous and scary and wrong. It might make you feel outcast or lonely or completely afraid. Often it requires great risk. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
We don’t know the end of our story yet. We cannot look ahead and see how the pieces could ever fit together to create a beautiful tapestry. A legacy. But they will.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9.
Don’t give up. Fight the fight in front of you with your eyes fixed on Jesus. Though for a time you may suffer, you may feel alone, you may question everything that you know to be right — He is with you. He sees you. He knows the intention of your heart and it is enough. Do not become weary. Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13