Tag Archive | trials

The richness of adversity…

” I have been driven many times to my knees by the
overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.
My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed
insufficient for the day.”
Abraham Lincoln

Do you ever feel like life is just a bit overwhelming?  Like your hanging by a thread.  The challenges and problems that coexist with every day life seem to scream for all of our attention.  Yet our hearts cry out for peace, stillness, reflection and answers.  And mixed in with all the  mysterious of life  there is a beckoning.  A call” Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30   The love of God is lavishly poured out as it were from heavens gates right into the frailty of our human condition.  Jesus doesn’t just tell us it will all be alright  – but assures us that He will provide the strength we need to go through the trials and storms of life.

For the last few months I have been going through a very challenging time in my life.  One that has brought me to a deeper understanding of what it is to Praise God when things are quite imperfect in our life.  I remember as a child I had so many notions of how life would be for me.  I dreamed of happiness and longed for the day when everything would be okay.  But what I have discovered along the way is that life is one gigantic learning curve.  And God’s imprint upon a life comes with great complexity, as His refining and purifying process is worked out in us.  And quite frankly that work often appears to be messy.  Yes, in a society where appearance is so important and control trumps humility,  God has a wonderful way of bringing us to the end of ourselves.

What is our story today?  What are we walking through that is so much larger than us and demands the intervention of an all knowing God to see us through?  How are we facing what is before us?  Are we trusting  Him or are we wanting to fix it our way?  Are we experiencing joy in the storm or holding out for happiness and relief?  If we could but for a moment have a peak at the undertakings, the behind the scenes of what God is up to in our lives I can only imagine that we would be blown away.

Trials come to prove and improve us.  St. Augustine

It is in those places of crisis that we can truly discover the manifold riches that are unleashed when we are solely dependent on God.   Like sustaining joy, continuous peace, grace, love, direction, revelation, hope, purpose, and destiny.  How about healing, restoration, and redemption.  God’s ways are so much higher than ours.

I have to be honest I used to really not appreciate the following Scripture.  I just could not understand how God could allow adversity. I surely appreciated the good things of life…..but I didnt want to share in the sufferings.    “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”  Job 2:10  But I can tell you that the richest times in my relationship with the Lord have come during my most desperate moments in life.  And while right now it may seem like we are holding on by a thread…that thread is Christ and He never lets go of us.

Our suffering is not worthy the name of
suffering. When I consider my crosses,
tribulations, and temptations, I shame myself
almost to death, thinking what are they in
comparison of the sufferings of my blessed
Savior Christ Jesus.
Martin Luther

By Marta VanGerwen © 2011

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.      

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Don’t worry…I GOT IT!!!

   

© 2011 By Marta VanGerwen

I can’t make it through another day!  The pain is unbearable!  I feel like my life is over!  I have no hope!  I can’t keep up this façade.  Why did this happen?   It’s so unfair!  These statements have been uncovered during many coffee times with precious women that are going through difficult times in their lives.  And some represent the cry of my own heart.   The older I get the more I realize that life is mostly hard, but…..God is good.   There are days when I am so saddened by the burdens that family and friends are walking through that all I can do is –  cry out to Jesus for a miracle.  Some may wonder where God is, and why does He allow so much pain?  Does He really care?   It seems the hardships appear to be escalating whether it be financial, physical or emotional.   So what are we to do with so much pain?  What do we say to one another as we face the daily challenges that come our way?  Can we trust that God’s got it?   Or is it easier to worry and wonder?  Is there comfort found in resting in the goodness and faithfulness of God, or is it more assuring to try and figure it all out?

I remember the day that I found out my daughter was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Waiting for the MRI results had proven to be agonizing.   I spent hours online looking up the possibilities of what it could be based on her very abnormal eye activity.  The doctor suspected a brain tumor.  And while the wealth of information afforded us online is truly amazing, in moments like these it can be overwhelming.  At my fingertips I found every imaginable thing it could be.  By the time we went to the doctor to get the results I was convinced my daughter had a brain tumor. 

“Well,” said the doctor, “I have good news.  It is not a brain tumor.”  “Yes!”  I was overjoyed.  But I have other news.” continued the doctor.  “ Your daughter has MS.”   What?   It was like someone punched my stomach and knocked the air out of me.  More like the life out of me.  I wanted to scream.  Amidst the turmoil quickly brewing in my heart I thought,  No this is my daughter!  It can’t be!  I just brought her in because her eyes were doing strange things.  She will be fine.  She does not have MS.  This is just like the other visits where she has a virus and she will be better in a few days.  But the stark reality of the moment seized my attention, and I was forced to face what was unfolding.   I was overtaken with crippling fear.  What did this unexpected turn mean for my daughter?  How would we face this trial?

The doctor waited while I gained my composure and my sweet daughter sat there staring at the wall wondering what in the world just happened.  Thinking, “ Im 12 years old and you are telling me that I have an adult disease.”   I always knew she was an extraordinary girl but it was completely confirmed on that day.  She sat there with the poise of a champion listening to her doctor explain what her future held with this invasive disease.   Only 2% to 5% of children have MS.  And my daughter was now calculated in that small percentage.  Like an arrow striking her out of millions of children.

I am thankful the trials that come into our lives don’t come with complete enlightenment, but only with what is needed for the moment.  For if on that day the window to the future would have been opened,  unveiling what was ahead for my daughter it would have been seemingly too much to handle.  But that is the gift of grace provided by our Lord, that He only gives us the strength we need for each day to get through whatever may come   – moment by moment.

And while it is often hard to understand why the hardships come, I am moving into a deeper understanding that the storms of life truly do point us to a loving God who holds our lives strategically in His care.  Nothing goes unnoticed by Him.  And while the doubts shout with potency throughout our minds,  there is a calm in the storm that can be counted on.  There is a peace that settles in our hearts like a trusted friend.  While our situation may seem to be coming undone God is anchoring every broken piece with certainty.   A surety that no matter what… “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall ABIDE  under the shadow of the almighty.  Psalm 91:1

My darkest moments have been drenched with the radiance of a nurturing and loving God who not only holds us,  but guides us through the unexpected storms of life.

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;  but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”  1 Peter 4:12-13

Most of life is sprinkled with uncertainty and lacking the WHY answers.  We are not to know everything.  And I imagine there are profound reasons why our view on this side of eternity is limited.    “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;  now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”    1 Corinthians 13:12      And so while we may not have the answers we do have the assurance that the God who fashioned this world can and will most certainly bring us through anything that comes our way.    One thing is for sure and you can bank on this  – “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all…Psalm 34:17-19a

Somehow I can visualize God declaring from heaven….Don’t worry…I GOT IT!!!     

More to come on RisenDreams…as always I welcome your comments….

Marta        

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.