“It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times” is a line very fitting for 2016. Last year was a mixed bag for our family and some of our friends. I was glad to see 2016 go. My husband experienced very difficult situations at work last January, which continued until he decided to change jobs in May.
Our only son graduated from high school in May. This was a bittersweet moment for my husband and me. Our son’s childhood is over, and our relationship with him is shifting.
A friend of mine lost her adult daughter to a serious illness in March. In April, a sweet friend from church lost her precious young husband and now is a widow at the age of 36 with four young children to raise. Another friend lost her mother in May, after almost losing her father the year before.
We survived two months of renovations while preparing our home for sale. I spent much of my time cleaning and moving things around. My husband started his new job in July, and in August we moved to Asheville, NC, and our son started college.
We are still waiting for our home to sell, but through this time I have grown my coaching business, and I have watched God open doors I did not know He would.
Whenever I want to feel sorry for myself or discouraged because things are not going the way I would like to, I remember people in the Bible such as Abraham, David, Ruth, and Esther.
God directed Abraham to go to the land he would show him. He promised to make him a father of many nations, but Abraham did not have his promised child until he was 100 years old. In the meantime, he tried to help God out. (Read the full story in Genesis 12.)
I have tried to help God out too. It does not turn out so well, however, and I have learned to let God handle things. He does a much better job. You know, since He has the whole “omniscient” thing going for Him!
David was chased by jealous King Saul for 15 years after Samuel told him he would be the king of Israel. God used this time of struggle and turmoil in David’s life to grow his trust and faith. Without it, he would not have become as good a king and military leader. (Read the full story in 1 Samuel 15-31.)
Ruth lost her husband and chose to go live in a foreign land with her bitter mother-in-law, Naomi. Through many strange circumstances and requests, Ruth found love and married Boaz. Only God could orchestrate these events. (Read the full story in the book of Ruth.)
If you think about the story of Esther, it is really strange how God brought about the circumstances through which she would become King Xerxes’ queen. She went through a yearlong process to preparation before meeting him and ended up in the perfect place at the perfect time to be able to help save the Israelites from persecution and death. She was near the king “for such a time as this.” (Read the full story in the book of Esther.)
None of us want to go through painful times. I am ready for the roller coaster called last year to end, but it is not over for us yet. I keep trusting God to show us the next step and guide us.
God knows the reason for our struggles. He is preparing us for something we can’t see right now, orchestrating events we know nothing about.
Trusting God when things do not make sense or are extremely painful, such as losing a spouse or child, is really hard. Our microwave society programs us to think God should work in the same “instant” way.
At The Right Time
But if you study the Bible, you will see God works on an agrarian cycle. Soil is prepared, seeds are planted, and farmers tend to their fields till they are ripe for harvest. They have wait for a long time and worked hard to keep their plants healthy.
In the similar fashion, only when the time is right will God reveal our next step, or bring relief and healing from pain. Sometimes He uses pain to purify our hearts and bring us closer to Him.
The pain, the frustration, the waiting for answers or comfort in the pain gives us a chance to truly trust Him, allowing our relationship deepen and our hearts to soften as he continues to tend our lives.
Take time to reflect.
Ask God and He will reveal to you what He wants you to know.
What did God show you
in the hard times?
Please share in the comments below.
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