Sitting here with a tinge of the stomach bug, I am thinking through why God allows things to happen. I know in my mind can go round and round and I will never really know the answer to this aloof question. It reminds me of a conversation I had the other day. A friend said to me, “I bet when we get to heaven, we will take one look at God and realize we got almost everything wrong here on earth.” We kind of chuckled for a minute and I thought, “I bet she’s right.”
However, I have become convinced of this one thing, the Lord never relents in growing those He loves. And I have to personalize it like this: God is constantly allowing challenging circumstances into my life, not randomly, not to make me mad, or to prove some point, but because He loves me. He knows that every hard situation, whether it was me finding out Adam has cancer to our family getting the stomach bug, has the potential to draw me closer to Him, showing me just how deeply I need Him. He knows in every trial, He is working out endurance, character, and hope in my life.* Out of His great love for me, He never abandons His concern for the condition of my heart, never leaving me alone in a place of not needing Him.
It has taken me a long time to really view my life like this. In fact, just through the past few months has it really become rock solid, this new theology. In the past few years, through other excruciating circumstances that seemed to hit one after the other, I often wondered, “Does God really love me, or is this all a big joke?” But recently, through this last big trial, He has confirmed in my heart, all has been allowed through His lens of love. He has a plan for me, a story that has included all kinds of wonderfulness, a handsome and loving husband, beautiful healthy children, fulfilling opportunities to serve. The same story having some very sad pieces, including miscarriages, abuse, and cancer. It seems obvious to me that through clinging to Him in the latter things, through the hard times, this is when I have come to know Him as my shield, my portion, and my deliverer and He has grown in me a grieved heart of gratitude these things.
Through difficult seasons, His word has become alive to me, much needed oxygen on days that were hard to bear. Philippians 4 has resonated in this soul of mine. It says, “11 Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. 12 I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. 13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]
Have I reached this lifestyle of continuous contentment? No. But with every trial, God is taking the opportunity to teach me I can be content, I have all I need in Him. And I have learned, no matter what is thrown my way, that He lavishly loves me admist the hurt, pain or confusion, no matter how big or small. Knowing He promises to use all for my good and His glory and resting in the presence of His love, I know I can be and am “ready for anything through Him. He alone has the power to “infuse inner strength and confident peace” into the fragile places of my heart.
I realize now that being a Christian doesn’t spare you from heartache in this world. As we were sitting in the West Clinic, waiting for Adam’s appointment with the oncologist, I just kept thinking, “We are too young and too healthy to be here. This is a dream.” Most of the people there looked “sick.” But cancer is no discriminator. Heartache isn’t reserved for some; it’s reserved for all in one way or another. Sadly, it’s part of this broken world.
One day, when I see Him face to face I believe I will understand a little bit more about my story here on earth, but until then, I am grateful that He won’t relent in growing me, pruning mebecause He loves me. And I am thankful He provides everything I need, every single day without fail.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
Can you relate?:
*Have you ever wondered, "Does God really love me?"
*What are your thoughts on Romans 5:3-5, "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
*What do you picture when you think about seeing Jesus face to face?