I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing. The medical diagnosis was shocking. Something I was not prepared for emotionally. I’d just been sucker punched. I could look back on the last few years and see how the symptoms fit what had been happening in my life. That didn’t mean it made sense for me today though. Beyond confusion though, I was angry. At God.
How could you do this to me God? I thought you loved me? Where is the love today – did you forget it at home?
I know I am not alone in this feeling. You’ve been there too. We all have. It might be a medical situation, like it was for me. Maybe it’s the death of your child. A divorce. The overwhelming darkness we see on the evening news every day. Unemployment.
This is a big moment in our faith. When things get serious, and we have to decide what we really believe, because what we know and what we see don’t reconcile.
What we see is…well, it’s a disaster. Life is ripping apart at the seams and we just don’t know how to make sense of it. Hope is a distant memory, and things just gets worse when we try to reconcile our reality with what we see in the Bible. James 1:2-4 is a perfect example.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Yes, JOY is exactly how I want to consider my trials. Sheer and utter joy. A trip to Disneyland without lines. And yet, that’s what it sounds like the Bible is telling us to do. What God expects from us, when He’s the one who sucker punched us in the first place. But maybe there is more going on than we realize in the moment.
God has the long term view of who we are becoming in the pain we are experiencing. He sees the end from the beginning and rejoices over the maturity we arrive at through the sorrow we go through now. It is from this place of eternity that God calls us to rejoice in trials, and it is the ultimate test of trusting Him. It comes down to a single question:
Do you trust God more than you trust your circumstances?
Answering this question is perhaps the key to writing the story of our life. As we learn to say yes, we are able to walk into a place of greater favor with God. To see life through His eyes, with His perfect vision. Our wounds get healed. We find hope. We discover the courage to move past our pain and into the destiny God has for us. We get unstuck.
“Do you trust God more than you trust your circumstances?”
Such a great question. More often than not, my answer is no. (And I have far fewer excuses for that mentality than other people do.)
Your reference to James 1:2-4 made me think of a runner training for a marathon. 😛 I think you’re about ready for a decathlon, Chris.
Cassie, I don’t think it’s a matter of having fewer excuses or more excuses. At all. More than anything else, it comes down to recognizing the circumstances for what it is — a trust test. We see all through the Bible that the “heroes of the faith” made a TON of mistakes…just like we do. Abraham told folks his wife was his sister, so they wouldn’t kill him. God had to give a dream to an unbeliever to protect her. What a GREAT husband. But he is the father of our faith.
Let me know how I can encourage you to move toward more Yes answers to that question Cassie. But please remember we are all in process. We all say yes sometimes, no sometimes, eventually sometimes, and sometimes miss the question altogether. No shame in being real!
Having the response of joy to circumstances is certainly not the first thing that comes to mind when the doctor gives us tough news. The joy, though, is for that deep abiding presence of God that rests on us everyday. We draw on it more, I believe, when things seem dark and dim. It’s when we figure out that we can’t fix or change the circumstances that we run to Him and He truly becomes our everything. I wrote about 2 Corinthians 12:10 yesterday. “When I am weak (when I realize I can’t fix things) then I am strong (because I rely on God to be my strength).”
I love what you said here, and completely agree, whether it’s the bad news of a doctor or something else. So often we feel like we have no choice, that we are victims. I wrote this post to bring home the truth I’m still learning that we always have a choice — to trust
I continue to be blessed by your honesty — your ability to be so real with your words. And, I, too, am captivated by the question, “Do you trust God more than your circumstances?” I’m very thankful Jesus died for our entire being — not just our spirit — but the healing of our body, soul and spirit. By His stripes, we were healed! (Past tense — already done, even though our bodies don’t feel the healing yet.) Expect and believe. Satan is rampant, working overtime to kill, steal and destroy. One of his ploys is our health. I love your realization that we do have choices in everything — and this time, the choice to trust — focus on the King — THE great Physican! Lean on Him, rest in Him. Your strength and courage are tremendous, and God will bless your obedience.
Thanks for sharing yourself with your readers.
Thanks for your continued encouragement and comments. The question “Do you trust God more than your circumstances” was really the driver for this whole post. In the moment where we have something unexpected thrown at us — health-related or otherwise — we have that choice before us.
I certainly believe the enemy works overtime to discourage us, to steal from us, to destroy us. James 4 has a wonderful promise — Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Resist the devil and he will flee. This is where I hang my hat, and my heart.
I keep holding on to that question — “Do you trust God more than your circumstances?”. A few ‘circumstances’ have arisen this week for me; satan is pushing buttons. As I recently read, we need to be alert to our weaknesses because satan has corresponding ploys. Thanks for reminding me of the scripture in James — God’s perfect timing to read!
I’ve always believed that we are only given what we can handle – even if we don’t think we can – we do, we always do.
I completely agree. I wrote this thought about that moment in time where you feel overwhelmed by what’s going on. When you feel like maybe God trusts you more than He should. The moment of choice, to suck it up and push forward, or to curl into the fetal position (figuratively) and suck our thumbs, whimpering. I hope to encourage up all to push forward
Praying for you and your family.