I know it’s hard right now, I know the attacks are relentless. I know it seems like the trouble and the pain are never going to end. It may seem, by sight, that God is distant; that he has turned his back on you in this difficult season. But what seems to be true isn’t necessarily reality. I know this because a little over ten years ago my world started falling apart, and through it all God was always there, helping and working in the hurting and in the waiting.
It began with losing my younger brother. In an instant, he was gone, unexpectedly killed in a car accident. Nothing tests your faith like losing someone you love, especially when they had their whole life before them. Especially when what little family you have means everything to you. Why would God allow my brother to die? Why would he allow so much suffering to our family? Why God? I had so many questions, and in my pain and my questioning, God was so good to me. He didn’t give me complete answers, but he gave me peace while my heart shattered, strength to endure the pain, comfort for my soul when it was in turmoil, and healing over every wounded part of me. God didn’t cause my brother to die, but he did use my brother’s death to draw me closer to him. And as I sought God more, I experienced God like never before. Because of my brother’s death, I was delivered from the unending oppression of fear that I had lived with since my childhood. I was no longer afraid and I was free. God gave me hope and freedom in exchange for my sorrow; great hope that has sustained me every day since. We know in part now, but one day we will understand fully, and until that day comes we have faith and we have hope. Our hope does not disappoint us, but assures us and is an anchor for our soul.
Not too long after my brother’s death, within the next year, my husband was medically discharged from the military. We lost our only income. But God was good to us then too; there was another job waiting for him. Next, we lost our home, my husband’s new job didn’t pay as much and the housing market was a disaster. There was nothing we could do to save ourselves, to keep our home, to keep us from foreclosing. The old me, the me before my brother died, would’ve worried and believed we were going to be homeless. I came home one day, after picking my daughter up from school, to find our dog had strewn pieces of my Bible all over the house. The Bible couldn’t be saved, pages upon pages of shredded scripture were spread out on the floor. I’m sure the enemy thought he had me, I had no way to go to my Bible, to hear from God, to remind myself of what is true… But little did he know God’s word was hidden in my heart. All those months of seeking God after my brother died had planted seeds in my soul and these trials were making the seeds sprout and grow. My faith had grown, I wasn’t shaken. I had seen the faithfulness of God in my lowest of lows. I knew God would take care of us, I expected him to, because that’s who he is, Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will provide). This was the position of my heart at the time I found my Bible destroyed. The attack against my Bible was a perfect visual for the attack that was taking place on our family and our faith. I didn’t get mad at our dog, I didn’t get mad at all, or upset. I hadn’t been worrying about our situation either, I was just looking for God and asking for his help and guidance because I knew God was working all things for our good. As I went to pick up what remained of my Bible, I noticed our house was a little dark that afternoon, and with a flick of a switch, I realized our power had been shut off. I could’ve screamed, I could’ve cried, but I didn’t. God had proven himself trustworthy to me. And even though we had no way to pay for our power to be turned back on, we were already taken care of. Just a few days earlier we received keys to a home that someone was allowing us to rent until it sold. So, I gathered up what few belongings I could while I had the daylight, and late that afternoon we drove out of the city to a quiet country town, to a home a block away from my mom. And while sleeping on the floor that night, our family together, I thanked God. We had shelter, we had warmth, we had light. God was good to us again.
This is just the beginning of a story that someday I may finish sharing. God continued to move in my life, and it was through more trials. But with every trial came more hope, and with more hope there was more faith. Through these hard seasons, I’ve learned God doesn’t always stop trials from happening because he is working through them. It is true that light shines brightest in the darkness. I know so many people are in the middle of fiery trials and I want to encourage you, God has not left you to endure this alone. His word is true, he will never forsake you. Believe it. The enemy is a liar and he controls us through fear. Don’t be afraid, our God is greater.
I want to encourage you to read the Bible, don’t neglect to read it. It will save you. God is always saving, rescuing, and redeeming. We see God’s character through his written word, the Bible allows us to see the way God moves throughout history in the lives of his people. We hear God when his word becomes alive and speaks to what is going on around us and within us. And his word is activated, to become our reality, to steady our hearts, when we speak it over our lives; not to have our own way, but to know that God is good and his ways are loving and right. That requires faith, to believe God is good when what we are living in is not. We have the truth of his promises to anchor our souls to when storms come. And from that firm position, anchored in God’s truth, we have the faith and strength to stand, to endure, and to overcome every trial. Remember Joseph, and all he went through? The enemy didn’t take Joseph out, he played a part in positioning him. Joseph had to become a slave, to become a prisoner; because it was from the prison that he was elevated to second in charge of a nation. And as second in command, Joseph was able to save Israel. God always has a plan and he is always good, it’s a matter of having enough faith to believe it before you can see it.
If you are in the middle of something hard, God’s not done. If it’s not good, he’s not finished. And just as Joseph persevered, you will too. Because you can see, and believe, that this will work out for your good. Because God is in the middle of setting you up and doing something good in your life. We shall reap if we do not faint. The devil can’t gain victory over us as long as we have our faith. The Bible says the righteous are as bold as a lion, and Jesus told us to not be afraid for the Father is pleased to give us the kingdom. Our hope isn’t in the things of the world, our hope is in God and his eternal kingdom, a kingdom that will never pass away. Our hope is in him and him alone. So when our world is shaken, we can know that whatever remains will be good when we place it in the hands of our loving, capable, all-knowing Father.
I can say all these years later, God heals and restores, to better than before. He gives what is good. I am in a better place emotionally and spiritually than I ever have been. My faith has remained and grown with every trial. God is faithful. We are in a better place financially than we were when my husband lost his job and we are in a better home than the one we lost. We are raising our kids in a better community than the one we left, and looking back I can see that it was necessary and good for us, for me to go through those difficult seasons and situations. The season we find ourselves in is always temporary. Like the ocean’s tide, hard times come and go. Be assured you are not alone, you are loved, God is good and he is turning things around in your favor.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains- where does my help come from” My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
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
What shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
You restored me to health and let me live. Isaiah: 38:17
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
No weapon forged against you will prevail. Isaiah 54:17
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him. Romans 15:13