“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!”
—Psalm 27:13 (ESV)
Perhaps you’ve read the Bible story about Job. He was a godly man who was taken through horrible, seemingly inexplicable suffering. Yet in the end, he not only received much more than he’d had before, he also had a much closer walk with the Lord. He spent the rest of his days confessing that a deeper intimacy with God was worth all that he’d endured.
I think of my own story. From the time I was 12 years old, bouts of chemical imbalance led to severe anxiety attacks, depression, and a form of PTSD. I also experienced my parents’ divorce at age 8 and the sudden, unexpected death of my mother when I was 26 years old.
There is a phrase that does not appear in the Bible, yet the principle bears out:
I can look back and identify how that principle has held true in my own life. I see it in the lives of my children, and as an author, I see it as I develop my characters’ stories. Some allow the crises of their lives to harden their hearts against God until they begin to see everything that happens to them as a sign that God doesn’t love them, or that He is not good, or that He does not exist. In extreme cases, they become completely different people, hurting others and destroying their own lives.
I find myself contrasting these characters with the ones who know that something is wrong, desire to change, but do not yet know how. They continue to hope in God’s promises and at the right time, God begins to make a way for them. They find themselves willing to climb the highest mountain or cross the farthest sea. They are willing to accept the difficult, painful process because they believe in the promise of Psalm 27:13 (ESV).
I have been reflecting on the example left to me by my mother. In spite of all the difficulties of her life, she left a beautiful legacy of choosing to be the latter of the two contrasted individuals. I know that when she looked at herself, she saw someone whose faith was spotty and shaky at best. A woman who had had three husbands and lost six children through abortion and miscarriages. But God saw something different. I can say with the utmost confidence that what I remember about her looks far more like what He saw than what she did. I saw then, and I still see now, someone who never gave up believing in the goodness of God.
My mother’s life purpose was always God’s will, even when things went wrong, and even when she knew she’d failed. At those times, she’d fall down at the feet of her Savior (Jesus Christ), open her arms wide to Him, confess her sin and acknowledge His Lordship over her life.
I want to be like that, and if possible, I want to do even better than she did. I want to live a life of believing Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV), in which God promises us, “I know the plans that I have for you…plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” I know that sometimes, His plans for good are not always going to look good from my perspective. Perhaps that is why my mother loved the poem “The Weaver” so much. The second stanza reads:
Sometimes, past fears trigger us and we find it difficult to trust that what God is doing is truly for the best. We remember past times when He did not do what we wanted, and it is easy to take that to mean He is not good. May we humbly seek to align our will with His, and ask that He open our eyes to see how everything He does is for our good.
Let’s Pray: Dear Jesus, I thank You that as a master weaver, you see the finished product of my life’s tapestry long before the loom is even prepared. May I be willing to accept sorrow and difficulty, and trust that I will see Your goodness in it. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
One thought on “What Do We Do With Our Pain?”