By Lydia Jentzen Will
I was upstairs, working in my room when I heard it. Thump, bump, thump down the stairs followed by a cry, then a scream. The three year old tripped over his own snow boots that he loves so much he will hardly take off, and fell down the stairs.
Blood was everywhere. He was screaming and I was trying to clear away enough of it to see how serious a problem it was. My soothing words to him punctuated with my own annoyed thoughts. “Seriously? If I have to go to the hospital right now…this is just a really bad time. Why does this sort of thing always have to happen?”
How many times have I thought that? Always, always hoping that the next will bring a smoother season. Always hoping that trouble will remain ever behind me. Always shocked and surprised when things don’t go according to my plans.
As somewhat of an incurable optimist, it can be hard for me to balance my rose colored glasses with the stark reality of trouble. Over the years and through various stormy times, I struggle to see what the point of it all is. Doesn’t God love beautiful, whole things? Isn’t He a God of order? Purpose?
Doesn’t God love beautiful, whole things? Isn’t He a God of order? Purpose?
Our ultra connected,social media culture seeks to showcase the good things in life which is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. It can become a stumbling block that divides rather than unites when we view our deficiencies as less than opportunities for God to grow us, or somehow not how life really goes. When we look at the filtered lives around us only showcasing the very best, we come to hope for and expect only the smooth and easy.
Our humanity craves auto pilot. Our spirituality demands more.
Far from boasting about our weaknesses to exult what God has done for us, we try to hide them. We are embarrassed by them. We can begin to see them as the world does – failings with no purpose, hope or redemption. Senseless.
Trouble comes with life, whether we know Jesus or not. A fallen world will always tend toward decay, chaos, trouble and ruin, and we shouldn’t be surprised when these things find their way into our lives as well.
The triumph of following Jesus is finding that, in Him and with Him, all sufferings are redeemed. Every hardship, heart break, soul scream is heard, held and brought to a place of perfect healing. He walks us through our fiery furnaces and brings us out blazing bright.
The triumph of following Jesus is finding that, in Him and with Him, all sufferings are redeemed.
Life takes courage. Bravery. We can claim comfort in knowing that God controls all things.
Seeing our sufferings in this light doesn’t downplay them. If anything, it heightens their importance and gives hardship purpose. Far from seeing these difficult things as senseless, we can see God using every opportunity to redeem even our hardest, most imperfect moments for His glory and, as a result, our good.
This doesn’t brush aside suffering as merely a means to an end, something for the greater good that we just have to live with. Instead it is a solemn acknowledgement of the hugeness of human difficulty when God takes it upon himself to see that every human heartbreak is not in vain.
God using every opportunity to redeem even our hardest, most imperfect moments for His glory and, as a result, our good.
Hardship and trouble move us forward because God is faithful to see us through, and when we emerge on the other side – we are changed for the better. Stronger. Brighter. We suit up for a rough and messy ride, knowing the destination will make it all worthwhile.
When we arm ourselves with this knowledge, we go out to face the dragons prepared. Certain of the victory. Certain of His goodness. Certain that there is a reason to hope. Certain that no matter the battle, we are never alone.
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