The last two days I took my authentic self to the keyboard, and put out some deep truths regarding my emotional state. Sunday, I walked into church and had it handed to me. That is often the way it goes. I am perfectly fine with the lesson. In fact, I gladly accept it.
Our current series, Real Questions, Real Answers, tackled the question of why our loving God allows pain and suffering. It has been a while since I had been in church due to having pleurisy. I was excited for this topic, and happy to be healthy to return. How often do we hear this question in our walk? People always question God’s love or existence in the face of pain, disaster, major illness, and heartache. Asked on more than one occasion, I have always answered with the explanation of free will. Today’s sermon was a great reminder in how to handle those questions.
The part that hit home for me was when my pastor, Matt, mentioned if we are preparing ourselves for leadership in any capacity, then we better be prepared for pain.
*Moment of confession- I literally rolled my eyes!
From the moment I asked Christ into my life, I have been ‘assured’ and “reassured” repeatedly that God is preparing me for something big; usually by people who are very aware of the continuing cycle of difficulty life hands me. I have rested in that promise, and looked forward to whatever God had in mind. I have waited patiently as one trial after another came and went. I sat in hope and prayer day and night, cried my eyes to sleep, and many times did nothing more than seek Him and listen. I believed there must be more to this life than trials and tribulations, minor or major!
As my writing reflects, I have not been as optimistic as I once was. I strongly believe that God can use any and every situation for His good. I think along the way I began to believe that His good was actually something beyond my comprehension.
Where was the good in abuse for over a decade as a child? Where was the good in watching my fiancée collapse from a cerebral hematoma and wake up out of a coma weeks later as though he was seven years old again? What was good about having bipolar disorder? I could keep going, but you get what I am saying. What was good about any of it? NOTHING!
The result of Christ being in every moment, no matter how bad, that is the good. Unfortunately, for many, that is not good enough.
I spent much of my childhood wanting to be dead. I spent even more of my young adult life in the same boat. What saved me from ending this life? I started a new one in Christ. I sat in an ICU chapel with a family praying for a miracle. His brain swelled up. They had to cut and remove part of his skull to accommodate the swelling. A good portion of his brain had made contact with his skull, the brain tissue died. He should have died. God intervened, their miracle received. The exclamation at the end of most unbelievable survivals is Jesus, and that is good enough!
If I can survive a childhood of evil, I can survive now. I may not want to hear that God is preparing me for something big or anything at all. What I know to be fact in this moment, at this time of my life is God’s good is my survival to tell the world what a little faith can do. By little, I mean faith the size of a mustard seed. How small is that? Look it up.
God can work all things for the good of those who love Him. For those called according to HIS purpose. All things include the tragedies and the tribulations of life. All things mean the days your son is in prison, or your daughter is lost in addiction. All things include midlife changes, while having to raise your grandchildren, recovering from neck surgery, and have lost all skills in communicating with your spouse (just throwing that out there). God’s Word is true, and when it says all things, He means ALL THINGS.
If the good at the end is simply the fact that you survived it all, than that is a good worth shouting about. If the good at the end of it all is simply I made it home with Jesus, I will take it. I may be angry, confused, hurt, sad, and so many other things along the way, but my faith in Jesus Christ will never waiver. Through the emotional tides, He stands with me and for me, all for the good of one soul. A soul who loves her God, called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 (ESV)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.