“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)
We are only half way through the first month of the year and things are already dim. Here in my little corner of the world, my neighbors have suffered a tragic loss, another neighbor has Alzheimer’s and last week was the four-year anniversary of the day my Mom went Home to be with Jesus. It has been an emotional and spiritual dumpster fire around here, and there are things on the horizon that scare the living daylights out of me. This is just life and we should never expect anything to run smoothly.
My pastor’s teaching this morning was a God-sent message of hope. He taught about suffering. It is not that trouble comes (Jesus stated very clearly that it will. See John 16:33), but how we navigate the trouble is what’s important. We have a tendency to let suffering crush us when it would be more to our benefit to let it build us. Granted, it is really difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel when we are in the midst of grief, anxiety and stress. The world we live in is harsh. The world we belong to is Heaven – we need to remember that.
God truly does work in all things in our lives, whether we recognize it or not. He allows the suffering simply because we need it to grow. Being refined in the fire (see 1Peter 1:6-7) is not easy; it is not meant to be, it is meant to remind us that we are a work in progress. It goes against our nature to let go of the trouble and trust in God; it is in our nature to try to figure a way out of it. We cry out to Him for help. We search Scripture for answers. We seek advice from others. We do our best to muddle through the muck and the mire, knowing He is with us, or we give up. God has a plan. He will work out His plan in and through us, if we will only let Him. That means letting go of trying to control things and trusting in Him.
In the months after my Mom went Home I must have cried a thousand gallons of tears. I was lost (and still am) without her to guide me; without her to console and admonish me. My heart aches for a conversation with my mother. God knows this. He knows the tumult in my soul. He knows everything. There is seldom peace in the circumstances we face, but there is always peace in Jesus Christ. It took me a long time to realize that fact and I have yet to completely trust it. Every day is an adventure in strengthening my faith and remembering that no matter what happens God is with me. Take heart, He is with you, too!
Please pray for my neighbors. If you have a prayer request, please leave in the comments.
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