Suffering with hope

Faith Through The Storm

pexels-photo-1It had been over an hour. I stood there, holding the door shut to my son’s room while he raged on the other side from a yet to be diagnosed disorder, which has dominated our lives for years. My sometimes sweet, funny, determined little 7 year old is now experiencing a battle waging inside of him. So there I stand, fighting against his surprising strength to get the door open. No matter what was on the agenda at this time, it all goes out the window. My sole focus has now become keeping him and us safe as this illness turns him into someone else. How long will this one last? An hour? Two? All I can do is try to hold back the tears that well up, pray…and wait.

One moment I feel anger and such frustration at the damage that my son’s challenges have caused in our family; fear, hurt, insecurity and confusion in my other children, as well as strain on our marriage. The shrieking, verbal and physical aggression, chaos, and the many hopes for healing that have ended in disappointment seem never ending. Then my emotions shift to sadness, loneliness, and grieving for what’s been lost. My home is not a reprieve; it is where my greatest battles are waged. Aside from a miracle, this will continue to be my life. Not that it’s wrong to seek answers and healing, but it cannot be where I put my hope. Otherwise, I will always feel hopeless and tossed by the waves that keep crashing against me.

On days when I feel the crushing weight of my son’s disorder while trying to care for 3 other children along with my own struggling health; I cry out to the Lord, “Where are you in all this pain?! I just don’t know if I can do this anymore!”

Why does it sometimes seem like God is silent in the midst of the storms that threaten our very lives? He tells us that everything we encounter has been ordained, planned by His sovereign will. This illness and pain is no accident.

“But Jesus, where are you in this storm?”

As I wrestled with that question, the Holy Spirit drew me to a passage in Matthew.

“And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but He was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing” And He said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:23-27

1. Jesus LED the disciples out on the boat even though He knew a storm would arise because He was God. Jesus sometimes leads us to places that contain deep struggle, but He takes us there for the purpose of changing us to be more like Him and to reveal that His power is greater than any storm that may come.

2. The disciples followed Jesus into the boat because He led them there and they obediently followed Him. If we have chosen to follow Christ, we must understand that following Him WILL include storms and suffering. Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:23-24  We can’t pick and choose which part of following Christ we want. We can’t choose blessing and not suffering. For suffering seems to be where some of the greatest blessings are found, just as the blessing of our salvation is the byproduct of Christ’s painful suffering on the cross. So do we choose the short term “blessings” of the world, or the path of the cross with blessings forevermore? Only by God’s grace will we choose the cross.

3. “Jesus slept when the storm arose.” Does God sometimes seem asleep in your storm? He does to me. But that doesn’t make him less God or less present. Though Jesus slept as a man, He was still fully God and in control. He went to “sleep” to accomplish a purpose of growing the disciples faith, not to abandon them.

4. The disciples didn’t frantically try to row back to shore. Instead, they cried out to the One who had the power over the storm.  Instead of putting all of our hope in our own abilities or solutions that the world may offer, we can choose to go to Christ, the only One who has the power to control all things.

5. “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” The disciples were afraid because their faith was based on what they could see and understand instead of on the truth that Jesus was God. Right now in my life, I see no end to the suffering. No person can or should promise me that it will all be “okay” and that God will choose to heal our son and ease the pain surrounding my life. However, God tells us not to be afraid even when we don’t see any hope in what we can see in front of us. Why? Because He is God, and even the winds and the sea obey Him. And He will only let the storm rage as long as He sees necessary for our good and for His glory to be revealed.

6. “HE Acted.” Despite their little faith, He still acted. He calmed the storm and saved them, but not until they had seen their lack and need for a Savior. Do we try to do all the right things and think that God will see our efforts and calm our storm? Do we try to pull up our boot straps to prove that we are “strong” and in control of our lives? Or do we humbly admit our dependence on Christ and cry out to Him to rescue us from the storms that we are helpless to save ourselves from?

Christ knew that this is where following him would lead, but not for it to end in death. When these storms come, they sometimes show us how much greater of a faith we have in our own efforts and solutions of the world than in Christ alone. It is His incredible grace in our lives to draw us into a deeper realization of our need for Him. So whatever storm you are facing…cling to Him! Cry out to Him! Then wait, watch, and rest in His good and sovereign will with anticipation. For the greater the storm, the greater the platform for His glory to be revealed to us and through us to a watching and lost world.

Clinging to Christ,

Sarah

hopewhenithurts_cover

To read this edited chapter and more on the hope we have in suffering, check out “Hope When It Hurts – 30 Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering” authored by Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell here or here.

14 thoughts on “Faith Through The Storm”

  1. So good, Sarah. Thank you. I especially love the part about Jesus leading the others into the boat, knowing what lay ahead. It made me think of the title of Jerry Bridges’ autobiography that I read, “God Took Me By The Hand”. Such a comforting thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post brought tears to my eyes as I felt it speaking directly to my troubled heart. I have three small children ages 5 and under. My youngest child has special needs at this time and we are going through the process of getting a diagnosis. We have days and nights when he’ll scream and cry for hours, his little body contorting with pain. I’ve been hitting one wall after the next lately, physically and emotionally drained. Faith is hard to find in those moments when you aren’t sure if God hears your pleas for help or for answers. This reminds me that I need to focus on being still and knowing that He is still there even when the storms are raging. I thoroughly enjoy keeping up with your posts and my heart goes out to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mandy, my heart hurts for you. I know the deep feelings of fear, grief, mixed emotions, anger, weariness, etc. Praying for you right now, that Christ will be near and remind you of his nearness and faithfulness to carry you through everything is allowing. He loves your precious children even more than you and has a good purpose for their life. Keep resting in his grace and strength.

      Like

  3. Read this powerful and encouraging word in your book, “Hope When It Hurts” and just reread it now. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your personal struggle/storm and how God is meeting you in the midst of it. My faith is sometimes so weak in the midst of my storm, but the grace of God is sufficient. Thank you for reminding me of this truth. Bless you, sweet sister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are not alone in struggling with weak faith. Sometimes, though, our feelings of weakness are actually signs of strength as we learn to lean more into Christ. Not always pleasant, but he will be faithful. Thank you for taking the time to encourage me in return!

      Like

  4. As a parent of a 16 y old autistic daughter who has spent most of the last 2 years in and out of hospitals, with symptoms of an additional mental health issue, i can feel every word of your post. Screaming, verbal abuse, loss of a normal family life has been our portion for years. Sometimes our lives seem to have come to an end, as if we cannot bear another day. But God is in the process of writing the story of our lives and he is not finished yet. We have not seen the end. Let us not pass judgement before the end of the book of our lives. He is a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4/19) and we are to commit to Him ourselves and our children. He loves them more than we do. Out of every single tear of every sigh, of every desparate situation He will bring glory to Himself and to us. Let us NOT despair but praise Him in our suffering. One thing our family’s suffering is doing for us is, it just teaches us how weak how dependent on God we are for everything. Thank you Sarah for sharing your heart ache AND your faith. Praying that God will strengthen you to the end.

    Like

  5. Him Sarah, thanks again for Your transparency. Such encouragement! You are using your gifts. In regard to your son, I’m sure you’re aware of PANS/PANDAS, Dr. Horowitz describes it in his recent book. I’ve just learned that it affects adults, as well. It hit me hard two weeks ago. Awful. I
    It’s very hard to get correct diagnosis, as you know. I’ve been to Mayo, ERs, many doctors and they tell me I’m fine, except my LL M.D., I’m sure you’ve experienced imaging, heart monitoring, many blood draws that all come up OK. Email me privately with any questions. I pray for you all.
    In Christ Alone,
    Lea, in Orlando FL

    Like

  6. Sending much love.
    And thanks for the Hope When it Hurts devotional on the YouVersion app.

    I have Lymes too.

    And have been researching brain health for the last 2 years.

    Have you heard of the SPECT imaging by the Amen Clinics?

    (Amen in the doctor’s last name 😊)

    Here is his main book:

    YouTube, Google and read his site.

    Their 2 clinics acknowledge and work with Lymes; as well as a long list of other disorders.

    Dr. Caroline Leaf also explains neuroplasticity.

    (She too is a Christian neuroscientist)

    I don’t want to send another “cure” your way.

    I know that feeling.

    I also know the struggle for answers and search for puzzle pieces.

    For me, it was a relief to find they can check for overactivity in an area of the brain; or a tumor that cause extreme personality flips and rages.

    A loved one in my life too has issues.

    In Christ,
    Elisia

    Like

    1. Hi Elisia! I’m so glad you enjoyed the Hope When It Hurts devo! If you enjoyed it, you might enjoy reading the whole book as well…since that’s a handful of devos pulled from it.

      Anyway, thanks for reaching out. I’ll take a look at what you sent. We have had a brain scan done on our son and know areas that are malfunctioning, but haven’t had any real help with what things we can do about it. I’m not sure if this is the same thing or not..so I’ll still look into it. Thanks again!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s