Monday, March 28, 2016

Where is God when your heart is broken?

What is God doing? Has He abandoned me? Does He even care or have an idea of how hard this is?

Sound familiar? I admit, yes. This is all familiar to me. If she wanted to, the churched girl inside of me could feel shame.  I’ve been a student of God’s Word since I was 12 (At that age a “student” really means I was sitting through many church services where the Bible was preached and preached hard). Twelve years old is also when I began to discover His wondrous love for me. An all-powerful and all-knowing creator has taken time to love me. To carefully draw myself to Him. Wow.

I’ve steered a boat maybe a handful of times in a straight line over the course of my life. So of course I was qualified to steer the ship of my own life. I did my best to change directions when I saw danger lurking or try my best to ride the waves in my own power, grasping frantically at the wheel when my grip became sweaty and feeble. It was tiring but I was making it.

I had been a Christian for 14 years when the storm and waves finally took the wheel out of my control. Those questions I mentioned plagued me. Not just in my mind but deep in my gut. My mind is what tried to bring me back to reality by recalling what the Bible says and all I’ve been taught. Through tears I would lift my head to ask God if He was still there. As if looking up, I might see him better.

I was searching for Him as though He was distant but I didn’t find him until I looked up close. When I quit talking to God as though He was on the other side of the planet with His face turned to me then I could feel His nearness. I then sensed His presence through some of the smallest details. Details that would not even be note-worthy to a single other soul, but at that time they were the breath in my lungs.

For 3 ½ years I combated the throes of warfare in my heart, and all that ugliness I told you about in my last post.  I know God loves me. “I’m His child” I would remind myself. But with anger and resentment the question would well up inside of me, “Why did He let this happen to someone He loves”?

Satan’s lies are the loudest when your heart is the coldest.

After all these years I FINALLY see with the most clarity that God’s grace and provision were most evident in my life through the tragedy that I was so angry about Him not preventing.

Where would I be today if God had met my carnal wishes and prevented my son’s death? Who am I to decide what’s best for my life? Is not the Creator more brilliant than the creation?

A self-controlled and shallow life. Complacency toward the hurts and needs of others. Only a partial view of God’s love, provision, and Grace... 
 A life more fully surrendered to His perfect will, a driving passion for the rest of His creation, and an engulfing sense and reality of His presence in my life.

I choose B.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

This verse would make me mad. I knew it. I was told it. But I was angry because I didn’t feel it or see it.

My faith was lacking. Only by faith can we trust in what we don’t see or feel. Isn’t that what faith is? I see now that God truly did have my best interest in mind through all the mess. He really was walking right next to me the whole way.

“Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:7

This is where I’m living today and I am SO thankful for it. I have been built up in that faith. Hindsight is 20/20 right? If only I could’ve truly walked in faith rather than anger. Little by little though, as I watched God work one small thing out after another my faith did become more established. Today as I look at the whole picture I can see it was much more than just little details that carried me through. My vision was so blurred that all I could see was little bits here and there. Now I see the amazing work of God as He carried me in one hand and moved barriers out of the way with the other.

Of course I would have preferred a different mode of transportation to arrive at this point. But I’m not steering my own ship. I’m simply riding along, enjoying the sun or clouds, watching the waves crash, and most importantly knowing firmly that my Master is at the wheel, taking care to perfectly navigate me through the smooth seas as well as the rough ones.