Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Faithfulness: Part 1 - In Suffering -

"Whatever is going on in your life right now, the answers lie not in the help you decide you need but in the help God is ready to offer you - through His wisdom and love."
Quote taken from Be Still and Know that I am God Devotional (Sorry, but I don't know the exact author)

This concept has been one that the Lord has continually pointed out to me in the last year. Over and over again I keep finding myself trying to pray away certain circumstances and situations. There were times that the Lord answered those prayers with a "Yes" and led me around a trial. And there were other times that the prayer was answered with a "no" and God instead chose to send His peace and strength to get me through the trial.

We've all experienced this, the times in our life when God chooses instead of removing a burden to encourage us through His word, to send people to help us carry the load, and His Holy Spirit to empower us to keep moving - one small step at a time. When this happens, we tend to respond by asking the most difficult and unanswered question.... "why?"

Why does the Lord choose to cause us go through some trials and around others?

Tim and I have been asked several times since his accident "Why do you think this happened?" and we can come up with lots of possible answers and scenarios, but in reality, we have no idea "why" and to be honest, we don't care to focus on the "why", and let me tell you why (corny, I know but I just couldn't pass it up :))

There are times that God chooses to reveal His ways to us, and when that happens the Bible tells us that He does this to increase our faithfulness. (Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."However, the Bible tells us that "It is the glory of God to conceal things" (Proverbs 25:2) and that His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). There are times that we will not know "why", it is in these times that we are called to trust Him. We have to have to BELIEVE that His ways really are higher than our ways and that He has a plan.

I'll be honest with you guys (maybe too honest). I have faced some trials that haven't seemed worth the cost, regardless of the gain. Do you know what I mean? I look at the loss of my little nephew Trent and I know that for me there is no reason that anyone can give me that will make his death "okay" or worth it - at least not on this side of heaven. I wish that I were a stronger person, able to say to you that those who have come to know the Lord through His death, somehow made it better, that my closer walk and dependence on God relieved my pain, but it didn't (not for me). Don't get me wrong, I have chosen to rejoice over the goodness that has come from his death, but it didn't relieve my pain, and it didn't even begin to justify it for me. Nothing, absolutely nothing, has (or will) make it okay. Maybe that's why God chooses not to reveal to us His reasons sometimes, because in our humanness (this side of heaven) we cannot comprehend or understand them.

I know that God is good, and I know that He has everything under control, I know that He was in charge the day that Trent was taken from us, and I know he was in control when Tim hurt his hand, I know that He will redeem all of the trials we have been through. However, I am learning that there is a big difference between knowing something and believing something. When you are in the midst of a storm, do you really BELIEVE "all things will work together for the good of those that love God"? (Romans 8:28)

This is a process, and trust me when I say it does not come naturally, it's painful and it's hard. I have experienced two extremely difficult losses in the last two and a half years, and I handled them completely differently. With the first one, I questioned everything I believed in and doubted the promises of God. I fell into a depression and the trial worsened it was an extremely difficult time in my life, marriage and faith. It took me a long time to realize that God was still good, even in the midst of my pain. With Trent's death, instead of questioning, I clung to what I knew. I still cry, I grieve, I doubt, but I don't let go of God, and what I know to be true about Him and He has given me Peace and Joy and a sense of His arms around me that I cannot describe in words. He is fulfilling His promises to me in the middle of my storm.

We cannot choose our circumstances, but we can choose our response, and our decision will affect how we get through that trial. As we learn to have faith in the Lord, and thank Him for our trials, and focus on Him instead of the failing world around us, our relationship, communion with Him, and Peace that we obtain will outweigh that situation. It may not make it better, it may not feel worth it from our earthly perspective, but when we turn our eyes on Him and we make it about Him and not about us, we will be blessed, and one day we will see and experience the full blessing that was worth the sacrifice. Right now, our understanding may fail us, but He will not.


Tami Jo said...

I loved when you said, "We cannot choose our circumstances, but we can choose our response". That is so true. I am also still having a very hard time with the passing of Trent. I am trusting God and know that He is in control. I am just having such a hard time figuring out how to deal with the pain of the experience. I know that Trent is in the perfect place and I wouldn't want anything else for him, but it's hard on the ones that are left behind.

I love you Amber!

Alexis said...

Loved this blog! One of the biggest things I am in the process of learning right now is that there is a big difference in knowing something and BELIEVING it.
Several of my devotional readings lately have focuse on are you going to look at God or are you going to look at the problem or the trial? Which is as you put it "choosing our response". Do we fall into the despair or do we walk through it looking up with faith so that we don't sink into the waves.
Love Ya

Snow White said...

Found you through WFW.... and was blessed by this post. I appreciate your openness. Thanks for sharing.

donna said...

Again Amber you did another great job of explaining God's faithfulness. In the past several months I've been in awe with His faithfulness, especially the past 2weeks. Time after time He shows me His faithfulness. As a mom I want to fix things and make it all better for my family, but He showed me in my devotions that He doesn't need my help. What a disapointment, what do you mean God you don't need my help, I'm willing to do whatever it takes, once again He brought me to my knees and just ask me to continue to pray. He has it under control.