I believe I can safely assume that many of the readers of this blog have dealt with some pretty deep pain and sorrow. You have walked through some deep valleys and been lead down some agonizingly dark paths. Recently I read some very unique thoughts on this subject and I would like to share them with you in hopes that you will discover in them the encouragement I have found.
I, like so many others, have questioned why God would allow the heavy burden of cancer and amputation to fall into my husband’s life. He is so good and upright. He has lived a Godly and fully submissive life. He doesn’t deserve such a trial!
I have wanted so much to say it’s not fair.
Then other times I remember other Godly men and women who have also been allowed to face suffering or hardship, and I say, well, why NOT us? We haven’t anything on those folks. Why should God spare us when He asked them to deal with such tragedy?
The “why” questions of life very rarely get answers.
But I read this recently and if you’ll hang on tight with me, I think you’ll find it interesting. It is from Ann Voskamp’s book entitled One Thousand Gifts. I’m not very far into it, but it is fascinating!
This is in response to a situation where the author’s husband’s brother and sister-in-law lost two baby boys to the same genetic disease within two years’ time…one of them at 4 months and one at 5 months of age.
At one point the author says to her brother-in-law, “If it were up to me…I’d write this story differently.”
She then tells us “I regret the words as soon as they leave me. They seem so un-Christian, so unaccepting—so No, God! I wish I could take them back, comb out their tangled madness, dress them in their calm Sunday best. But there they are…raw and real…”
Then the brother-in-law explains the perspective he maintains. “I don’t know why that all happened…But do I have to? Who knows? I don’t mention it often, but sometimes I think of that story in the Old Testament…when God gave King Hezekiah fifteen more years of life…Because he prayed for it…But if Hezekiah had died when God first intended, Manasseh would never have been born. And what does the Bible say about Manasseh? Something to the effect that Manasseh had led the Israelites to do even more evil than all the heathen nations around Israel. Think of all the evil that could have been avoided if Hezekiah had died earlier, before Manasseh was born. I am not saying anything, either way, about anything…Just that maybe…maybe you don’t want to change the story, because you don’t know what a different ending holds.”
“Maybe,” he says, “I guess…it’s accepting there are things we simply don’t understand. But He does.”
Wow. Gulp. That’s a beautiful picture of belief in an all-wise, all-knowing, loving God…of confidence that He truly does know what is best for each of us!
That’s my anchor in the storm. Knowing that I may never understand but HE does. And I can trust Him.
Do this with me, won’t you? Picture in your mind’s eye this scenario...you are facing a large black sheet of paper, behind which is a beautiful lamp glowing with soft light. If this piece of black paper can represent for a moment our life’s backdrop, then it might also be that punching a hole in that paper could represent a loss…a tragedy of some sort that rips deep into our souls. As you mentally punch holes and make rips in the paper to represent the deep and painful losses you have faced, let me share with you another word picture Ann paints in her book:
“I wonder too…if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see.
“To see through to God.
“That which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.
Can you see it??? Can you see the light shining so brightly through the ripped and jagged places in our lives?? Have you seen God work in or around you through your tragic moments? Have you seen God’s grace and power and experienced His precious peace in time of deep trial? Does this change your perspective on those very trials?
May we see our holes as “seeing-through-to-God-places” and may our anchors hold fast to Jesus, the only Rock worthy of our trust...
May God bless, keep, and encourage each one of you!
“It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”
Learning to rest in God's wisdom and love,