One year ago today Sarah and I were sitting in the ER trying to process the news that she was in serious danger from a crisis health situation we had no idea was brewing. I can still hear the surgeon’s words “you both need to understand how serious this is.” My ears heard what he said and my brain thought it comprehended it, but I had no idea just how deep and long the valley of the shadow of death would end up being. Yet, the Lord was and is my faithful Shepherd.
As I continue to reflect back on everything that happened last year I recognize ever more clearly God’s mercy and grace. Had we known everything that was yet to happen we would not have been able to face it. Thankfully for us, God’s grace is sufficient for one day at a time and as James 4:13-15 reminds us of our limited perspective of time anyways. How much better it is to rest in new mercies each morning! At the same time too, each successive challenge and trial prepared us for one yet to come. I’ve written before about that especially in regard to our three miscarriages. Sarah wrote last year “God is the author of life” and I know that Sarah is now more alive in heaven than she ever was on earth. Going through trials can tempt us to have an egocentric perspective where it becomes all about us and “why me.” We should strive instead to have a theocentric perspective and recognize that our sovereign, all-loving God is at work for His glory and our good. Our trouble comes so often when we only think of what is “good” from our perspective, not from the eternal and omniscient perspective of God.
As finite humans we often struggle to understand an infinite God and His workings. Add in our feeble emotions and we can quickly lose perspective of what is right and true. This is where we have to consciously preach truth to ourselves from God’s Word.
Our heart says God must not love us to let us go through trials. God’s Word says in Eph. 2:4 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,”. Our heart says God must not be in control. Jesus said in John 9:3 about the man born blind “that the works of God might be displayed in Him” explicitly meaning every sickness and disability is under His control. Our heart says God doesn’t really care about me and my circumstances. Jesus says in Matthews 10 that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge and “you are of more value than many sparrows.” Our heart says God doesn’t understand my pain. Romans 8:32 says “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
Our heart says “why?” God’s Word replies to “what ultimate end” in James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I could go on and on, but this is how I remind myself what is true when my heart and emotions struggle to remember. Whether we realize it or not we are always meditating on something. Much of the time it’s what might be called “self-talk” and much of the self-help world today tries to just tell you how to think positively to impact this. Christians don’t have to conjure up anything on our own because we have the “living and active Word of God.” This is how Ephesians 5 talks about the “washing of water of the Word” when our minds are so saturated with truth that there is little ability for lies and error to take root.
It’s been said before that either you’re in a trial or you’re getting ready to go into one. I encourage you to likewise consciously preach truth unto yourself. Only the words of God have the power to transform you and your circumstances.
“Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” – Psalm 119:49-50