If you read yesterday’s post you know the level of disappointment and frustration that our family has been living with for the last 5 months. I presented the question, How does the Gospel speak into my life during these times?
Before I answer, I need to address a couple other things. First, I am overwhelmed by the amount of Facebook posts, messages, and text messages I received after publishing yesterday’s post. Thank you to all of you out there who sent words of encouragement and love. You are what keeps us going. We know we are loved.
So. How do I deal with this? I am not asking this question in unbelief. Rather, I am desperately clinging to Jesus while begging him to be gracious to my questions. And I believe he is. How do I apply the Gospel?
Well, let me tell you about all the ways that God has been ever-present. Even when I refused to see.
- Our van broke down a couple months ago and we were down to one vehicle for about 6 weeks. The wonderful people who sold it to us earlier in the summer helped us get the part we needed and then even paid for some of the cost to fix it.
- God provided a place for us to call home again and again. At one point we thought we would be using an extended-stay hotel (expensive!), but when we needed to get out of one place, immediately the next place was opened up. I don’t believe that’s coincidence.
- We have found an incredible church family. We randomly stumbled upon this church and instantly felt at home. These people are truly our family.
- Tim has a job. As much as we have been searching for a new job for Tim (we need more pay), we don’t take for granted the job that he has. Even when we look at our budget and wonder how in the world we survived the past month, God is faithful.
- I go to an awesome MOPS group. If you are a young mom and don’t know about MOPS, check it out. It’s a lifesaver.
- We are part of Bible Study Fellowship. My mother-in-law introduced me to BSF (thanks, Lois!) last year. I not only get to study the Bible but I have women praying for me every week, and I have the privilege to pray for them as well. I am being cared for spiritually.
- My brother-in-law and his wife have been exceedingly generous to us. Providing us with dishes, towels, bedding. Really everything. I don’t know what we would’ve done without them.
So when I am honest with myself, I can see that we really are being taken care of, just not always in the way that I want things to work out. I am not someone to look at suffering (and really, what we are going through is nothing compared to a lot of you out there) and say, there is a reason for everything, and it will all be revealed someday and we will thank God for giving this to us.
Now, stop calling me a heretic under your breath and let me explain. I do believe that God can work out all things for his goodness. But I also believe that we live in a sinful world and it sucks. That’s it. I’m not going to explain away the hurtful things that happen as if that makes them better. It still hurts. People still get cancer. Jobs don’t come through. Children still get sick. Parents still get divorced. I don’t know why. Someone wiser than me told me yesterday that when faced with cancer, instead of asking God, Why me? She thought, Why not me? Of course bad things happen to us. Why wouldn’t they? Why do we think that because we love God we should be invincible. What kind of life would that be?
So the question I posed yesterday was, Where does the Gospel fit in when life is being terrible? How do I fit my faith in so that the Good News of Jesus touches every part of me, not just the Sunday part? I think I have the answer. I don’t think I’ve arrived so that I won’t struggle anymore, but I think I get it. At least a little bit. And the answer are all those bullet points up above. The Gospel comes through when I receive an encouraging word, when I can get together and cry with a friend, when the body of Christ provides exactly what I need exactly when I need it.
Furthermore, God has been teaching me (as I stubbornly kick and scream and try to run the other direction) that He is sufficient. Do I really believe that and live it? I do. A little bit more every day. God doesn’t promise us that everything will fall into place, that we will have the right home when we want it, that we will have the perfect job, that moving to Denver would somehow solve all my other problems (would that be nice?). But He does promise that He is enough. I have to believe that. If my happiness, no, my significance, depends on anything else I will be disappointed again and again and again.
And so, Lord help me, I am ever dependent on Him. Jesus has given me grace. And by that grace I will live, free to come to Him with my disappointments. And every time I do, I will come away with more grace to know that He is enough.
He is enough.