We have the songs down, the bible verses memorized… we undeniably know that God loves us, but my question to you is: do you really BELIEVE it?
It’s easy to believe God loves you when the skies are blue, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and everything is going your way. But what about those days when all you see is dark clouds in the sky, when there is no sign of sunshine, when all you hear is the never ending sound of raindrops, and you are stuck at a crossroad with no clue of where to go? Or better yet, a dead end that you never anticipated finding yourself at? Do you believe that God loves you then?
Thinking back on the great characters from the Bible and all of their stories makes me wonder…
Did Job believe God loved him when out of nowhere his world started falling apart for no apparent reason? When his wife was telling him to curse God and die and his friends were arguing about what sins he committed to have such terrible things befall him?
Did Joseph believe that God loved him when he was betrayed by his own brothers and sold into slavery because of their own jealousy? When he was stuck in a dark dungeon for a decade for something he never did?
How about Hannah? Did she believe that God loved her when she was ridiculed for being barren and her constant cries to God seemed to remain unheard?
What about when their ^ stories are reflected in your own life?
This week has been one of the hardest weeks of my life. By far. It would make it on the “Top 5 Hardest Weeks in Anna’s Life” list. I’m not sure what the other ones would be. But this one would be somewhere near the top. What started out as any ordinary week… turned out to be less than ordinary on Monday night. What happened itself doesn’t really matter (at least not to you) – but that night those clouds started rolling into my life and the rain started falling.
If blessing come through raindrops then I have to say, this has been one of the most blessed weeks of my life. Because this Monday night I was faced with something I never expected to face. And I knew it would challenge my faith in God and I’d have to make some necessary changes in my future. That night my world came crashing down. The birds stopped singing. And the sunshine disappeared. I found myself at a crossroad with no idea of where to go next. In which direction I was supposed to head and where the seemingly dark and uncertain road would take me. I felt like I reached rock bottom and I really didn’t know how in the world I’d make it back to the top.
The next day I woke up and I was excited for the day ahead of me…until I remembered… the night before. And that cloud came hovering over my head. My new best friend became the box of tissues that I carried around with me all day. I lost my appetite. I lost my desire to be around people. All I could see was a bleak future ahead of me and I didn’t know if I could face it on my own.
I knew what I was going through wasn’t the absolute worst thing in the world but I also knew that if I wasn’t careful I could allow it to overshadow every area of my life and make me lose my perspective of God, myself, and my future.. and I didn’t want that to happen. I didn’t want the darkness that I felt on Monday… to spread over to Tuesday, Wednesday… and for the rest of the days to come.
All I know is that I’m happy I’ve read too many scriptures in my life to make me not only know but BELIEVE that God loves me and cares about what I’m going through. That this is somehow all for the best even though at the moment it seems like it’s only for the worst. I’m happy that I know God well enough that I don’t doubt His great purpose and plan for my life. That I know He is good and merciful and that this is no punishment on His end. That I know He will be right there with me every step of the way and I don’t have to face any of it on my own. And I am beyond thankful for the amazing people I have in my life who have been there the past few days to encourage me and pray for me.
And although initially all I wanted to do was hide away, stay in my bed, and go through my box of tissues I have been doing quite the opposite. In fact – I’ve been smiling and hopeful and I just don’t understand why. I feel like my world and everything that I planned for my future is falling apart… and in the midst of it I’ve felt peace that I’ve never felt before. And I only have one person to blame for it: God. 🙂 Because there is no human explanation for me to remain as positive as I am when a few days ago being positive was the furthest thing from my mind.
I guess sometimes you don’t know how strong you are… until being strong is all you can be. You don’t know how deep your faith and your roots are in God until you have a storm come your way and you are shaken in ways you’ve never been shaken before. This week I’ve had a lot of “shaking” in my life but today I’m still standing and I know it’s only because of where I stood with God before it all happened. He was my rock last week, and He is my rock this week and for the weeks to come. My future is still uncertain, my situation has not changed, but I am putting my faith in my God who knows exactly what’s in store for my future and I know that it will all turn out for the best.
And maybe that’s why Job, Joseph, and Hannah remained strong in God. They didn’t just know that God loved them they also believed it during their hardships and times of uncertainty. They were so deeply rooted in God and His Word that no circumstance could come their way and make them believe anything other than His goodness and perfect plan and purpose for their lives. The storms may have shaken them, but they didn’t break them, didn’t make them lose hope, didn’t make them stop believing that God truly did love them during times when it sure didn’t feel like He did.
I learned a great lesson this week that I want to leave with you: God loves you enough to allow you to face storms in your life that will strengthen you. He loves you enough to allow you to deal with disappointment so you learn to depend on Him alone. He loves you enough to allow you to be tested and tried so you can learn to overcome anything that comes your way with Him. He loves you enough to allow you to wait for answers to prayers that remain unanswered so your faith can grow. Never doubt God’s love and intentions for you during difficult times. Storms are usually nothing more than blessings in disguise designed to build you up and make you stronger.
God loved Job. God loved Joseph. God loved Hannah. And God loves you and I more than we could ever imagine. Job’s, Joseph’s, and Hannah’s stories all had a happy ending because they chose to trust God when life gave them reason not to. In the same way… you need to continue trusting God today and in the end your story will have a good ending too!
One day I’ll have a story to tell… A story about how I got through this time in my life. How I grew from it. How I trusted God during it. How better things happened because of it… but right now it’s still a little hard. There are a lot of clouds in the sky. But I know God loves me and will use what I’m going through for His glory somehow in some way. I just need to take it one step at a time. And my first step will be putting my box of tissues away.. 😉
– Romans 8:37-39- “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
-Romans 5:2-4 – “And weboast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but wealso glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”
“Just because you don’t feel loved today, doesn’t mean you aren’t. A cloud covering the sun doesn’t mean the sun doesn’t exist. God loves you whether you feel it or not. Rest in that.” – Jefferson Bethke