Continuing my thoughts on the book “Holding On To Hope”….
For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.
What a comforting few verses! To know that I will NEVER be cast off from the Lord (election and perseverance of the saints at it’s best for all those Reformed theologians out there!). God will show compassion through His love. God is loving on us in so many ways – through other people, through giving us time, through showing Himself to us and growing our faith. To know that God does not willingingly bring grief or affliction, to me that says “yes, I may allow it, but I LOVE YOU and am a good God who will carry you through.”
Look for God in suffering
I have learned so much about suffering (though I honestly don’t like to use that word because I think Christ is the only one who truly suffered, but this is the word that the book used, so I’m just going to stick with it). I don’t feel that what Dan and I went through is in any comparison to what Christ went through – that is why Christ is such an example to us. God has shown us what it IS like to give up a much for him (I won’t say everything, though sometimes it felt like everything…), but we know that God could ask us to give up so much more. We still have our families (where Job lost that too). That is a blessing that we are thankful for daily. We lost part of our family in our two babies, but we still have each other and our immediate and extended families. God has been there. God is there.
Despair – trying to please God
Can I just say BEEN THERE! When there was so much backlash about our situation with embryos, we were so scared to do something wrong b/c it seemed like no matter HOW we said what was in our hearts, it seemed like it was twisted to say something we weren’t. We were scared that we would say something that would be taken the wrong way – then I found myself doing that with God. Not cool – that was despair. I felt I had to pray a certain way so that our words would make sense to God. That God would understand our hearts – but that is NOT how God works. God knows our hearts. I remember trying to explain to people our heart’s desire in embryo adoption (which was purely to just help other couples) and struggling to find words. We finally got to the point where we could not explain ourselves any further and we were in despair. We couldn’t explain what God was trying to do in our lives. We were just trying to do what we felt God calling us to do. We were scared to do anything wrong b/c we felt we were constantly in a court room, trying to defend our case. We ended up seeing God like that for a short time – someone we have to just sit and please, instead of having a relationship with Him. It was during that time we realized that we were living to please man, not God. Not sure if that makes sense, but because we were so involved in trying to explain ourselves, we found ourselves trying to please man, instead of listening to what God was telling us. That brought us into despair. But after weeks and weeks of just surrendering it all to God, we realized that God wants a pure relationship with us – not a point-the-finger relationship with us. It was then that we learned to say “God, we have no words – you know what is on our hearts – please hear them out.” And it was in those times, that we felt so much peace.
Job asked why?
Will you never look away from me,
or let me alone even for an instant?
20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you,
you who see everything we do?
Why have you made me your target?
Have I become a burden to you?
I almost have to laugh (which is probably the wrong reaction to vs. 19) because the line “let me alone even for an instant” is EXACTLY what Dan and I wondered! We often said “what next God?” I don’t think we ever said “leave us alone” but boy did we sure feel like that sometimes! With that said, it was comforting to read about the man, who went through so much, JOB, that he asked WHY? I don’t know if I would say we felt like a “target” to God because I know God doesn’t work like that, but sometimes we just said “God, why?” God does see everything and He KNOWS what we are going through. But wasn’t it even Christ who said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In our lowest of times, those times filled with so many tears and just sobbing, we knew that God would never leave us. In our times of such anger, we knew God saw everything that was going on – that He knew our hearts. We sometimes felt like a human target, but we knew that God knew our motives and desires – that was such a comfort. I literally cannot even FATHOM going through all of this without God. Even in those times when we had no words for God, it was just the knowledge of knowing that He was there, that brought a peace that is unexplainable. A grace unexplained.
Why? So God’s work will be displayed in our life
Bam. Answers. So many times Dan and I wondered WHY would God take away the job? Why would God take away our own kids? Our youth group kids? It’s so God’s work will be displayed in our life. That brings me to tears to even think about, that God would choose lil ole Dan and Kristin to display His work. Brothers and sisters in Christ…that is why any hardship you go through, God chose YOU, yes YOU, to display Himself in your life. I will be the first to admit that I am not the best representation of Christ – I fail. I can be a hypocritical Christian, meaning not living up to the standards that Christ has set for me. I do not perfectly reflect His image. But thankfully God continues to give us a second chance. Like I have said umpteen times before – I blog to just tell about what God is doing in our life. We aren’t anyone special – we are going through a season of trials, but everyone goes through that. My challenge daily, is to represent Christ the best way I can, so that God’s work will be displayed in my life. I try not to shy away from telling about the difficult times because Christ too, went through them. Thank you, God, for giving me a second chance, time and time again.
May that be an encouragement to you.