When we think He’s not. When we think He can’t be. When we don’t understand how. When we are convinced He must be losing to His adversary. God works.
This year has hit us like a ton of bricks. So much so, that I haven’t had the words to share. But, this is how He works. When attacks, betrayals, loss come out of the woodwork. When it shows it’s ugly face. When it corners you into the shadows. Hoping fear will break you. When heartbreak comes that you never knew possible, even after all you’ve already been through. This is how He works. To take you to a new level. To level up, as they say. Even closer to Him. He’s still there.
This year, I look at the difficulties, but also realize how deeply blessed I am because of them. How, in the betrayals and straight up shock, true friends and relationships have shown their lovely faces. Wouldn’t you rather have even two reals, than ten shallows? Wouldn’t you rather have even one who lets you share freely and doesn’t condemn or tell you to pray harder. But instead, prays for you. Intercedes because they know you don’t have the words or the strength. That know you are being beaten into oblivion spiritually. That goes to war with you.
Wouldn’t you rather have a marriage that you know can been tested? Can withstand? Will withstand? How would you know without the tests? He allows some really hard things to come into our lives to also show us how blessed we are. In the relationships that withstand the fire and come out so much more pure and rock steady in our hearts. The hard stuff shows us that. They can handle it and their love doesn’t change. They see the war you’re in and actually admire you for it. They know God is up to something special because of it. Because it’s just too hard for us humans. So, we lean harder.
When the ice storm rolls through and causes damage insurance won’t help with. Damage you never saw coming or could have budgeted for. When your office closes and won’t pay you because of it. When finances come crashing down and pressing in in a way you’ve never seen before. At no fault of your own. He works. He increases your courage.
When we think all hell is letting loose in our lives, our personal faith is being tested.
This year, I realize how when we ask God to get closer, it usually comes in ways that feel like He’s moving away. It feels like He actually CREATES these valleys. “God what are you doing? I thought we were passed this?” He asks us to press in. It’s not over.
When we ask for stronger relationships, He allows a problem to work through. When we ask for patience, He allows delays we can’t control. When we ask for better communication skills, He gives you a reason to talk. When we ask for more earthly defenders, He allows something that needs defended. So, they too, can come out of the woodwork. He works in us and ultimately for us. But, not always in the ways we “hoped” He would. Rather, in ways that promote longevity for change in our characters and desires in others.
Do we want honesty, compromise, openness, dignity? Then, He will remove those who don’t or can’t. He will teach them in His own way in their own hard stuff. This is hard and it hurts when we wish it could be different.
He promotes healthy relationships who want that in others too. He shrinks our circles. For His Glory and our good. He graciously and lovingly shows us knowing full well it will hurt, but exposing truth anyway. God works through pain. This is how He wounds, but also binds us back up (Job 5:18). Because that’s who Jesus is. Grace AND Truth.
Like the saying goes “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” We get angry because it hurts. No one likes to hurt. And a lot of times the truth does just that. Reality hurts sometimes. And sometimes it’s the most beautiful thing we’ll ever see this side of heaven. He opens our eyes to this in the hard stuff. BECAUSE He loves, He let’s us see the truth.
Well, we got through that, we can get through the next thing. He let that person leave, but shined His light on this one over here. The hard stuff. The stuff we wish were different or that we didn’t have to walk through at all, He works.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)
In all things. In the losses, in the shadows, in the ring, in the hard stuff….Do you love Him? Then, He’s working for you. Trust deeper.