We’ve all had those moments, where life seems to really be having its way with us. When all the cliché lines of hardship reflect themselves in our mirrors. Such as, “The waves of life are crashing against us” or “I’m caught between a rock and a hard place”. If we consider ourselves to be sons and daughters of Christ, sometimes feel like we are living with one cliché scripture after the other. The most common scriptures for me are, “He knows the plans he has for you... Jeremiah 29:11”, and my favorite being, “All things work together for the good of those who love Him... Romans 8:28”. The list can go on and on.
We consult our brothers and sisters in Christ, our Spirit led counselors or therapists & even our pastors hoping we’ll receive that one word or hug that will make everything alright. We go to church promptly, every Sunday for a month, hoping God will acknowledge those actions as our desperation to hear from Him. We convince ourselves that if our timelines and jackets represent Christ, then we must be representing Christ as well. For after all, I’m the one wearing the hoodie or the T-shirt, and it’s my bible in the picture with scripture highlighted.
The reality is, this is or was, me. We call on the name of Jesus with voices that don’t sound like ours, then look confused when we can’t decide if it was Him who spoke or someone else. This is all of us, at one time or another, we as children of God have found ourselves here, if we are being honest. If we haven’t, then we may be in that place now, or we may find ourselves there. The things we go through in life as believers, come to us not to make our faith wither and die, but instead, to build our faith. After all, it can only be built if we trust God with everything in us. How can we strengthen and grow our faith if everything goes smoothly? The Bible explicitly says we will go through tests and trials. If we look in Job we’ll see where it reads, “He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? In all this Job did not sin in what he said.’” (Job 2:10)
How can the goodness of God be received and appreciated, if our eyes are blind to the reality of tests and trials? If nothing in our lives makes us sit down, think, or reflect on a happier times, how will we know when we are going through a trial? I’ve lived part of my life, thinking and believing as Job’s wife did. She saw her husband lose his sheep and cattle, [today that is equivalent to his money or fortune,] then she saw her children die suddenly. After, she turned around lost her house and saw her husband lose his health. Blinded by what was going on around her, she told Job to curse God and die (Job 2:9). One tragic event after the other caused her to feel like God was not with her and her husband. In fact, after coming to that conclusion, she was confused by Job’s continued outward affection and reverence of God’s name.
Everything that happened to her and her family, told her that hardening her heart toward God was the right thing to do. Her husband’s reaction to their tragedy was foreign and she could not wrap her head around it. Though I am not married, nor do I have children, I have been able to look in the mirror and see Job’s wife looking back at me. In some ways, I believe we all have. If you have not, my hope is this would raise awareness and for you to learn from my mistaken truth. God is good, in every way imaginable and in every situation. I was blinded by the world crashing down around me and by the lie that God could only be good to others. Much like Job’s wife, I saw tragedy in my immediate circle, while it seemed everyone else was living in peace. It was in my tunnel vision that I forgot God’s goodness and in turn, placed a blindfold on my heart.
It is in this place, God can really show us His goodness but that happens to the fullest effect, after we are able to make it through trails. After God spoke to Job, reminding him that he did not create the heavens and the earth but He did – "He" being God – Job was able to get back all that he lost and then some (Job 42:10-17). I believe God wants that for you, but most importantly, I believe God wants you to know and believe that He is good even when you see everything around you falling at our feet. That is more valuable than gaining back a house, gaining back every penny you lost, or at least it should be more valuable than those things.
I currently find myself in this place again, but the difference between now and then, is my hunger to truly know God is good even when I cannot see His goodness. In a previous post, I talked about how God does not just do good things but that He is the very nature of good. It is more than an action, it is His way of being. My prayer now is that I would see His goodness again in this current place I find myself in.
Before you pray, I want to challenge you to read these scriptures, answer a few questions and share with a friend. If you don't feel comfortable sharing with a friend or feel like you don't have a friend who will understand, leave the answers in the comment section below and I will be your friend.
- Job 1:6-22; 2; 40-42
- Ephesians 3:14-21
- Isaiah 40:31
- When is the last time God showed you His goodness?
- When is the last time you felt God heard your prayers?
- Have you ever thought about cursing God?
- If God could prove His goodness to you right now, what would you need Him to do?
After reading these scriptures and spending time in prayer about these questions, write down your answers, share them with a friend and then ask the Lord to come into the space of hardship, pain, loss or grief that you find yourself in. Ask Him to expose the lies and to rain truth in your heart and in your mind.
I will leave us with a prayer,
Father I thank You for loving me, for seeing me and for hearing me. While I am going through this time of frustration and hardship I ask that my faith would grow as a result of it. That as I am going through I would learn to trust You despite what it looks like around me. I would learn to know You are the Creator of all things and there is nothing I can do to change my situation better than trusting You. If there is anything inside of me that tells me I know better than You and that my way of fixing the situation is better than Your way, would You remind me like You reminded Job, that all things and everything exists because of You, so Your will is better than my own? I ask that You would remove any pride in my heart and any anger or bitterness that may be there. I have struggled longer than I would like but You have been there through it all and for that I say thank You. Would You help me to always have a heart posture that reflects gratitude even in the midst of struggle?
I pray and ask all of these things in Jesus' name,