WRITTEN BY MELISSA H. STRAUTMAN, LMT
The Weirdo at the Funeral
Companion blog to “Love That Remembers” from the series By This All Will Know
Seventeen minutes into this sermon and the tears were streaming down my cheeks. “Subjective Peace”! I now have a name for it. I now have a name for the crazy notion that the harder life is, the happier I become. My pastor just told the whole world on Sunday morning that I’m not crazy. My happiness overflows right in the middle of real life-trouble, not after trouble is gone.
How did I mentally get to this point?
I honestly had no idea until Pastor Wilson’s sermon “Love That Remembers“, that it is appropriate to feel this way. From childhood, I was shamed for finding joy in the times certain elders thought I should have been projecting grief or anger. “Normal” had certain overt behaviors and somehow I’d not gotten the memo. I was and am still a constant disappointment to some in the emotional validation department.
I had to hide my little high-five to my Granddaddy as I approached his casket. After countless calls to me to say how he had woken up another day on earth and not in heaven, he was finally on his way to meet Jesus. I wanted to hoot and holler and do a little jig for him. I found the condolences for my “loss” absolutely suffocating, as though I was in a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. Clearly, I was the weirdo in the carnation and eucalyptus infused room because I felt no loss. His life and death as a committed, unashamed follower of Christ was a GAIN and testimony of mammoth proportions. His death was another nail in my heavenly house of certainty.
Peace and joy in the midst of sadness? “What a weirdo! We must slap a label on that abnormality and get her under control. How un-Christian!”
Pastor Wilson is incredibly direct in “Love That Remembers“. He points out that peace during the trials of life is absolutely a good and right experience of the Holy Spirit. It comes with a highly desired plane of peace that every Christian can have without degrees or increments. Just boom! There it is. Just when it’s needed. Subjective peace is not something that we can learn. This is so that we won’t boast of our own spiritual prowess or ability to control our emotions with intellect.
“Just suffering through,” “getting old and dealing with it,” “just accepting the problem” aren’t good or righteous excuses. Playing at martyrdom is not testimony-worthy of a life owned by Christ. We are more than conquerors. We can absolutely be overjoyed in our hard times because we know those are gracious gifts of sanctification. There is not one pain without a purpose of good for believers¹. Oh, what witness we could be to more of the world (or family) if we’d just portray the subjective peace that our objective faith says we have!
Love poured in is love poured out.
I never knew when Granddaddy was sick or worried about anything. He was too busy being overjoyed at all his blessings. He oozed love, peace, patience, kindness and self-control¹ toward everyone. He was others-centered and focused on eternity at all times. I often wondered when I was really young if he knew that I hadn’t actually ‘hung the moon’.
This peace is the inheritance that Jesus Himself willed to all believers in preparation for his death and to deny it in any way (outwardly, inwardly or even unintentionally) is to deny the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the Father.
Peace I leave with you: my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
If you don’t know this subjective Jesus-peace, you are probably aware that you don’t. Those around you are definitely aware of it. Jesus wasn’t a liar. You are most certainly entitled to the inheritance of this incomprehensible peace He’s promised you. Please listen to this amazing sermon and start experiencing a truly different Christian life than the one you’re not living-out-loud right now. We always have room in the weirdo-club for new members. (?)
I hope you will subscribe to this blog and keep learning all God has to teach through these lessons taught by Pastor Steve Wilson of Grace Community Church.
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²Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control