It’s been a hard month. Well, who am I kidding? 2020 has just been hard, period. I don’t want to add to the ridiculous amount of discussion you’ve, no doubt, been dealing with regarding Covid-19, so I’ll just say, in addition to that, I’ve dealt with a lot of other things too…that have also been hard! I’m sure that you have as well. Because…life goes on, right? There are always other stressors, anxieties, worries, ailments, opportunities, etc., that happen on a daily basis for us humans. So, in addition to dealing with Covid-19, I started homeschooling my children (not due to Covid), started a new job in a brand new field, and have also had the incredibly frustrating experience of having my identity stolen. Trust me, change your passwords…often! Your future self will thank you. *eyeroll* *heavy sigh* Not only was my identity stolen and used to open credit cards in my name (that were maxed out) but these people also managed to change my information on my actual credit report! Is your head spinning yet? Mine sure has been. Dealing with all of that…stuff…has been a royal nightmare to say the least.
This past month, especially, has been one of many tears, short fuses, anxiety, and fighting…for the truth to win in my life. It has been exhausting. But…it didn’t kill me. And you know what they say about the things that don’t kill you… Apparently they “make you stronger”??? Hahahahahahahaha. Ok, I don’t know about that. I certainly don’t feel I can attest to that, yet, anyway. However, I can attest to something else. And that is: the nearness of God…and His goodness.
It seems that in times of trial and stress, it’s so easy to feel as if God has abandoned us, isn’t it? We assume that the pain or trial we are facing must be due to either His lack of love for us or, at the very least, some form of punishment. Why? Why do we naturally bend toward that type of thinking? Honestly? I think it’s because that’s our human nature. We don’t typically cause harm to those we love unless we want to punish them. But there are a few issues with that kind of thinking. First, we are assuming that God is the “cause” of this harm, and second, we equate pain or trial with not being the easy route – therefore, it’s not the loving route. We would be wrong on both those assumptions.
Just because bad, wrong, terrible, unjust things happen to us, or those we love, does NOT mean that God caused them to happen. Seriously, read the book of Job. You need only read the first chapter to see that God was not the cause of Job’s trials. But He did, in His rightful providence, allow them to occur. This leads us into the belief that if we allow something painful to occur, we must not love the other person. Again, wrong. If you have children, you know this is very far from the truth. The difficult truth of parenting is that sometimes, parents allow their children (within safe parameters, of course) to experience pain and difficulty – so they can learn valuable and life-long lessons they would most likely, otherwise, forget. It’s the experience of the pain that reminds us of lessons learned. It’s also the experience of pain that allows us the opportunity to speak life and truth and encouragement into another person’s pain or tribulation.
I’ve recently read that pain…in it’s truest form, is a gift. Yes, you read that correctly. Pain often represents a warning sign, a symptom that something is wrong. But that same pain, if identified, worked through, accepted, can also lead to healing. Obviously, I’m not talking about physical pain and healing here, although the same idea can be applied to some of those situations as well. But, reading through this idea that pain is a gift made me wonder: When was the last time I thanked God for the gift of my current (or past) pain? What is/was He trying to teach me in and through it? And where is He during it?
The answer isn’t always so obvious to us during that painful time, is it? But afterward… Do you remember the poem, Footprints? It was a popular one years ago and I feel that the overuse of that poem over the last many years may have caused some of the significance of the meaning to slip away somewhat, but remember with me if you will, the truth behind it: It wasn’t until after the pain, when the main character thought he had been alone all those times, when he saw only one set of footprints in the sand, that Jesus had been right there, carrying him through it. Hindsight is 20/20, right? For me, that’s proven to be true.
Dallas Holm wrote these lyrics that were released in 1993 and they still ring true today:
There’s a heaviness inside your heart
A weight you can’t describe
A feeling that you just can’t hide
There’s a weariness within your mind
The thoughts don’t come too clear
You feel as though I’m not so near to you
But remember I said I’d never leave
Trust in My Word and believe I am here
Forever, I’ll never let you go
This is all you really need to know
I’ve heard every prayer I’ve seen every tear
When I seemed so distant, I’ve always been near
And I know the future, and I know the past
So believe me when I say…This too shall pass
He is with you. When He’s seemed so distant, He’s always been near. I’m still working on not trusting my feelings and emotions that change daily. They simply aren’t trustworthy. But He is.
So if, like me, you’ve been having a rough time as of late, or even if you haven’t been, take a deep breath and let me remind you of what is true: God is still on His throne. He still has a plan for your life. He WILL see it through to completion…because He IS still good.
And on the days where you find yourself trusting your emotions more than your God, listen to the words of this song (click the link below to listen):
“Be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10