[Joy with our troubles]
I’ve definitely been struggling with this one. (Joy with my troubles–that is.) This last while, my hope that once was soaring began having difficulty with lift-off, let alone staying airborne. As I read about how Abraham’s faith in God never became weak, and that He never doubted, he starts to look like superman to me. Suddenly, I begin to feel like a mere fledgling once again. Not only did His faith not waiver, He was strengthened in his faith and gave the glory to God!
“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. –Romans 4:19-25
In our trials, there have been things that I’ve been struggling with: specifically the unknown, and God’s timing. I know His timing is perfect, and I know He’s not slow like we understand slow. (That base was covered in Slowly but Surely However, I was thrown for a loop when everything I’d been working towards with my health had not only hit a wall, which my body is still recovering from, but suddenly I felt like I was back where I started. I really didn’t want to go back. When I began having anxiety I blamed it on other things. I didn’t want to believe that this new medication wasn’t the answer to my health struggles. Losing our business had also hit me hard.
When I went out for a walk one day, the wind was quite strong. As I felt it push against me I thought about how I’ve been pushing hard against all these challenges that have arisen in our life. I’ve been fighting it too hard. I definitely don’t have the patience, so I’m beginning to get why God has been persistently reminding me to trust Him. I thought I did! I thought I was! I thought my faith was stronger than that! I haven’t been trusting Him. (Not completely. Not like Abraham.) Yet, God remains faithful, even giving me a heads up before things get bumpy, and reminding me, when they do, that He’s still in control.
On Saturday night, Andrew and I watched a movie called “All Saints,” which really spoke to me. (If you’ve never seen it, “All Saints is based on a true story, and it was well worth the watch.) One line specifically caught my ear. Without giving too much away, it was at a very crucial juncture of the movie. The Pastor had been trusting what He felt was God’s plan, only to have the rug pulled out from under him. These were the words that he spoke to his wife as he surveyed what had happened: “We’re right back where we started.” (He echoed exactly my own thoughts and words.) His wife’s response though, as she surveyed everything, spoke a very different perspective: “No,” she said, “We’re somewhere entirely different,” and she was right.
God continues to point the way; The only way, which is Him, and reminds me that He will do what He’s promised. I may not have all the specifics on what His promises mean for our life, but I do know that He promises to be the One who will meet all of our needs. He will always provide, one way or another—not necessarily everything I want, but more importantly exactly what I need. Though it’s felt like we’re back at square one, God assures me: “No, you’re somewhere entirely different.” As I read the verse below I paused to consider what joy in our troubles truly means.
“Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ, who through our faith has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us.” –Romans 5:1-5
Patience, character, and hope aren’t exactly the things that I’ve been asking for, but they are what God wants to instill in me. Does this mean He won’t’ meet those other needs? No, not at all. Not necessarily. What it does mean, is that He will give us even more than we’ve been asking for. On top of what we ask, He will also strengthen our faith, build character, and produce in us a hope that will never disappoint. This is definitely something that I want and need.
“Now to Him [God] who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” –Ephesians 3:20-21
I say that I love to learn (because I do), but I guess there are some lessons that I learn a bit begrudgingly. I’m not proud of that, but God is still working, so there’s hope for me yet.
Next in this series–>Guidance Systems a Go
If you’re interested in reading more from this series, all entries can be found here:
And the start of this series can be found here: