Why are we surprised when trials come? Why do we quickly question God’s goodness, love, and control when we experience the pain of this world?
For me, I think it’s because there is a pervasive belief that subtly infiltrates my thought life. One that, deep down, still believes God would keep me from harm and rescue me from pain if he truly loved me.
That’s hard to admit out loud, but in our human understanding, that’s how we think love should work. If my child is in danger, I would do whatever I could to rescue him or protect him from it. If I were to sit idly by and do nothing, I certainly wouldn’t be a very good and loving parent. But I’ve learned that I too often come to conclusions about who God is by interpreting a circumstance through the limited understanding of my humanity. It’s like the man who sees the cocoon of a butterfly and believes the most loving thing to do is to free the butterfly, yet in reality would cripple the butterfly from being strong enough to fly and living as it was intended to.
What we see with our eyes is one dimensional. Our God sees all-dimensional.
Instead of equating his goodness with what he protects or rescues me from, I have to shift my perspective to the belief that his goodness is found in his strength, purposes, and presence in those trials. Instead of freeing us from the cocoon, he climbs in it with us and gives us the strength to struggle and persevere our way through until we are shaped into the beauty of his character and strong enough to be prepared and equipped to display his glory in the backdrop of a dark world.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”1 Peter 4:12-13
Friend, you may be facing something unimaginable and something very few can enter into. But Christ promises to enter that place with you and give you the strength to endure and the promise that his eternal purposes are at work.
Press on in confident hope – though the enemy taunts that his arrows will destroy, God is using those very arrows to create something beautiful and lasting in you.
Home is around the corner,
You can now order Sarah’s new book – Tears and Tossings: Hope in the Waves of Life, releasing May 2nd.
To read more on the hope we have in suffering, you can purchase “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. Jeff and Sarah Walton’s marriage book, Together Through the Storms – Biblical Encouragements for Your Marriage When Life Hurts.