It’s been awhile since I’ve been here–sitting at my computer contemplating what the Lord would have me share with you. It’s hard to think about normal things when my normal has changed so much. So I think I’ll share with you where my mind goes in times like these. It applies to all of us at one time or another–for we’re all destined to face hardship, pain, sadness and separation from those we love in one way or another.
The Lord in His kindness led me to read, Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, by Jerry Bridges beginning in October. It has proved to be a timely book for me.
I have been reminded through this book how important it is to believe in God’s sovereignty over all things.
It is in the difficult times that we’re tempted to think things are spinning out of control. But this is not the case. God is sovereign over the affairs of men–this includes our good times and our bad times. But He is not in control like a slave master over His helpless subjects. No, He is our Father who knows us and cares for us, so much so that He has numbered every hair on our heads.
I have found myself lately praying a portion of the Lord’s Prayer over and over, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” I don’t know what is best for me in light of eternity. I would most likely choose the path of least resistance because I don’t like pain. But we all know how beneficial it is to experience pain from time to time. Consider the following examples:
- having a cavity filled
- setting a broken bone in place
- saying no to what you want to spend your money on because you have 5 mouths to feed
- training for a marathon
- physical therapy to regain the use of injured muscles after an accident.
Yes, pain has it’s purpose. When my mom was dying a very good friend prayed that He would complete the sanctification process in her life so she would be released from this life to embrace the next. What a thought! God uses all we go through to sanctify us–this is a fancy word for making us more like His Son, Jesus.
2012 was not a fun year for me.
- Tom lost his job in an industry we both loved for over 3 decades.
- He lost his job on my birthday.
- My daughter and her family continue to live away from us.
- My church family experienced much hardship.
- My choice for president didn’t make it to the White House.
- And it all ended with my Mom’s passing leaving me numb and sad.
But listen to Mr. Bridges words:
Trusting God in the midst of our pain and heartache means that we accept it from Him. There is a vast difference between acceptance and either resignation or submission. We can resign ourselves to a difficult situation, simply because we see no other alternative. Many people do that all the time. Or we can submit to the sovereignty of God in our circumstances with a certain amount of reluctance. But to truly accept our pain and heartache has the connotation of willingness. An attitude of acceptance says that we trust God, that He loves us and knows what is best for us.
Did you catch that? We can receive God’s will, submit to God’s will, but if we don’t accept it as good from His hand we will not find the joy hidden in the pain. There are many who have faced far worse hardships than I’ve ever experienced and yet, managed to exhibit such a joy in the midst of the pain that was infectious.
Joni Earekson Tada – became a quadriplegic from a diving accident at the age of 17. She has found a joy she didn’t know prior to her accident.
Jeremy Camp – lost his wife a short time after they were married. Yet his testimony isn’t what you’d expect.
So, today will you join me in asking God to help us ACCEPT his will for our lives? I believe there is a freedom waiting for me I’ve yet to find and a joy that rises above the disappointments.