I am going through a hard thing. I’ve been through quite a few hard trials over the years, but this one is hitting me harder than any before. For my friends who don’t know what is going on, you are welcome to contact me. For any readers who don’t know me personally, the trial itself I am facing doesn’t really matter–we all are facing hard things whether it be death, health, relationship, job/financial or whatever issues. You can just fill in any blank you want-we are all suffering hardships. At the same time, I’ve become aware of a local family whose 4-year old child died of a DIPG brain tumor recently. I’ve been following their story on Facebook, and praying hard for them and grieving profusely for them. I think this child/family’s story is symbolic for me of all that is wrong in this evil, fallen world. I have been in a place of intense grieving and also struggling against a heavy, oppressive physical anxiety lately. I’ve been struggling with trusting God. Why wouldn’t God heal this child? Why won’t God call to and save all my loved ones who don’t know him yet? Etc. Etc. Why, why why?
But I finally had a spiritual breakthrough late last night, and I hope it lasts. The funeral notice for this 4-year old child popped up in Facebook last night which caused more intense grieving. A loved one did not want to hear the gospel and does not want to address his spiritual issues. More grieving. So many loved ones I know who are not right with God through Jesus and I don’t have the ability to help them other than remaining faithful to the gospel in my words and example. Yet–through my grief, finally, a breakthrough with God. Through several spiritual truths from the Bible that I’ve known for many, many years, but they finally clicked together in my heart, a new trust in God has emerged. And I hope it will be my strength and stay for the trial ahead.
- Through my recent study of The NIV Application Commentary on Revelation by Craig S. Keener: I know that God is in sovereign authority over all history and over all my future and as the Creator He has the right to do so. God is God and I am not.
- Through a recent message at church on Ruth 1, I am reminded that God was sovereign over Naomi’s life and had the right to be. And God had a bigger plan going on (Ruth was grafted in to the Messianic line) and God provided miraculously for Naomi in her unthinkable situation. I must trust God’s plan and relinquish my own plan. And I must not be bitter like Naomi was.
- A friend’s Facebook post reminded me that God was sovereign over all of Joseph’s terribly hard and unjust life and God worked all things together for good for him and his undeserving family in that situation.
I was struck with these truths in a fresh way–God IS in charge of all of my life and is sovereign over all of it, even the mistakes of my youth. God WILL work all things together for good for me. And God reminded me of Isaiah 43:1-3a and this is the promise I am claiming for myself to get through this next hurdle of life:
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
The promises to Israel now apply to the Church. This promise applies to me personally. Will God give me more than I feel I can handle? Probably. But He will walk through whatever horrible fires He allows in my life with me and He will never allow me to be burned. Sometimes I am strong in my faith, like now as I write this. Other times, I can barely hang on to truth by grace. Obviously I need and ask for prayer support in this. But Jesus will hold me fast. Jesus will enable me to finish this life faithful no matter what. If I need to grieve, I will grieve, but not without hope. Nothing can take away my eternal reward in the New Heaven and New Earth with God. And even if I have to go alone with God, without my loved ones believing in Him, I am going with God. Through the fire. Never burned.