We serve a God who is in the business of redeeming every single painful and heartbreaking moment for a grand and glorious and eternal purpose. And what a beautiful thing it is to be able to trust in the fruit that He is growing in us because of this light and momentary suffering.
It seems that it is more difficult for me to praise God when I don’t have an abundance of good things happening in my life. My mind does not often go to thanksgiving when I don’t see all those little (and big) things to be thankful for.
Why do the righteous suffer? Is all suffering for the sake of God? How do we reconcile the fact that God is good and God is sovereign with the fact that there is evil in the world? Does God somehow ordain evil and suffering? Why do the plans of the wicked prosper?
...regardless of what is happening in my life [or my feeling that nothing is happening in my life], God is still on His throne. So even when I don’t know what is ahead I can rest in his sovereignty, cling to His character, and walk daily in obedience. I can stop seeking for direction or clarity and start seeking to live a life of abandon right where I am to the glory of God. I can find rest in who God is...
...And in His grace He leads me into this deeper knowledge of His character. He is good. He is faithful. He is sovereign. He is sufficient. He is enough. How amazing that our time of walking through the unknown and the confusing and the scary can serve to draw us into deeper intimacy with Him and a more full knowledge of who He is?
He is faithful. He is utterly dependable. He is the antithesis of everything fickle and fluctuating. He is constant. He never changes. He is faithful always, no matter what my circumstances are. IN ALL THINGS He is holy and sovereign and good. He is faithful even when I am unfaithful. He is faithful to fulfill His purpose for me. He is faithful to fulfill all of His promises. I have no more reason to doubt His faithfulness than to doubt His very nature and being.
Just take a moment to meditate on the vastness of our God. He is Creator and Sustainer and Shepherd and Father and Redeemer and Savior and He is REAL. His very name proclaims His existence! We are able to trust in and put our hope in Him because He is real and true... He is reality.
...And even if he had not done all these things, even if I could not look back and see His faithfulness, I could rest unwaveringly in the fact that He is still faithful, because He cannot deny his character. He has been, he is, and He will always be Yahweh…I Am… Jehovah… Lord… faithful One… even in my foolish doubting.
“Remember it is I who orchestrate the events of your life. Don’t try to figure out what is happening. Simply trust Me and thank Me in advance for the good that will come out of it all. I know the plans I have for you, and they are good.” These words came to mind while I was spending time in God's Word recently. They convicted me and challenged me. It's so difficult to let go and allow God to lead.
Tiny little children, they can’t be older than three years old, sitting in the street with their hands cupped, begging for money or food or anything. They stare up at me and smile. I can’t get their faces out of my mind. Walking down the streets of Kabalagala, the “red light district” of the city, I see drunks lying on the side of the street and I see young girls who are most likely forced into prostitution to survive. Walking down the street I look into their eyes and I see so much brokenness, so much pain, I can almost feel it in my own heart.
I came to Africa thinking that I was going to be teaching, serving, and loving the children and the people here. And yes, I have been doing these things. We’ve been able to teach the wonderful children at Rays of Hope, the school in the slums of Kabalagala. We’ve been able to serve by helping with cooking, cleaning, and doing chores at the houses. And I have fallen in love with every single one of the children at the houses and schools we have gone to. But in reality, I have been taught, served, and loved so much more by every single person I have come in contact with.
I woke up my first morning in Africa to roosters crowing, Lugandan shouts, and children’s laughter outside. It was beautiful. Walking outside I was greeted with wonderful hello hugs and beautiful good mornings from precious children. I’ve never received so much love and I didn’t even know them yet! We spent all day getting to know them and playing with them. It was great. Later that night we were upstairs and heard the children’s beautiful voices singing praises to Jesus. We walked downstairs and see them all on their knees praying out loud and crying out to God. It was the most beautiful, genuine worship I’ve ever seen.
One week ago a tornado tore through the city of Tuscaloosa, and many other cities in the southeast. It flattened buildings, it tore roofs off of houses, it took the lives of friends and loved ones, it completely devastated the city and the lives of thousands of people. But the tornado also did something else...