I know a girl who is struggling to trust God right now. She felt the Lord calling her to do something that every bit of her flesh was against. Yet she prayed for the Lord to open up to her an opportunity to do the hardest thing of her life, and he gave her one, so obviously that she knew what she had to do. Now, the pain she is experiencing is great. She described it to me as a deep emotional abyss, and that she can physically feel the anguish in her heart. In total honesty and vulnerability, she shared with me some of her fears: that she would feel this hurt, be stuck in this abyss, forever and that someone's heart would be hardened against her and that she would be too scarred to ever be okay again and that the loss of a best friend is too great to bear.
I think what's making it most difficult to not be angry with God right now is that following him has caused her this much pain. It's not everyday that you go running to someone who hurts you. What she has to remember, though, is that it isn't the Lord who is hurting her. He is testing her, making sure that when she says, "God, you are enough for me. You are all I need. Even if my hands are emptied of everything else, I am satisfied in you," that she means it.
God doesn't break us to leave us broken. He breaks us to rebuild and restore. He takes us through the fire so we can come out on the other side more holy. It just hurts to be broken, it burns to pass through fire.
Since she made this tough decision, she has been racked with doubt and uncertainty that is surely of the flesh. So not only must she trust God that what he called her to do was right, but she must trust him completely with her heart and her future. God knows best, that's what I tell her. And he knows the difference between good and best, when it comes to our lives and our future, and especially timing, even when we don't see it at all.
Someone once told me that our lives are like blankets on a loom. We can only see the underside - the one that isn't that beautiful, with the extra threads hanging all over the place and the knots visible. But God, the Crafter, works from the other side and sees the bigger picture, the masterpiece. Another friend told me recently that God is a Painter, and even when it looks like there's a mistake, a stray mark of paint or a wobble, that he uses it to make the finished product even more beautiful and more unique. After all, no two blankets or paintings are the same, are they?
My friend said one of the hardest things is not being able to physically feel God right now, in her time of suffering.
It's hard, isn't it? It would be so easy if God were sitting on the couch with us, holding our hand, walking us through our hard times while telling us audibly how much he cares about us and how special we are to him. But he doesn't do that.
I think maybe that it's more sanctifying for us and glorifying to him to put our faith in him without seeing him, trusting him when our human eyes are only capable of seeing this human world. But I heard a wise man say that the spiritual realm is so much more real than the meager world we're in. After all, we don't have a soul.. we ARE a soul. We just have a body. So for us to get beyond this world and trust in the other is very glorifying to God, and to him be all glory.
So, right now, she has a decision: to continue trusting God. She knows that he is strength for today and hope for tomorrow. Each morning she will wake up, renewed, trusting that the Lord will provide her daily bread. Just make it through each moment, and God will give her the faith and the courage and the strength that she needs then. In that moment. And then renew it for the next. She said she has to be careful of not looking too far ahead, and like Lot's wife, not looking back, but trusting God right now. Because he is enough. She is satisfied with her hands emptied of everything else, even if it doesn't always feel good. She sees some purpose in her suffering.
The most important thing in her life, she said, is that God is glorified. And while it's difficult to stick by that when it feels like her heart is crumbling into little pieces that maybe won't fit all back together the right way again, she is more certain than ever that the goal of her life is to see God's glory and make it known here on earth.
Because he is good. He is loving. He is working together for the good of those who love him.
He is enough.
And she knows that the purpose of running to him is not to get relief of her pain, to receive blessing after blessing, to get a glimpse of her future, or get strength not her own. The purpose of running to God is to get GOD. He is the prize.
Even in pain, even in suffering, even in heartache, HE IS THE PRIZE.
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