I woke up early one morning this week to drink coffee and read scripture by myself (i.e. without having to keep one ear out for a toddler tragedy in the back yard ;)) It was a really beautiful moment for me because 1. I rarely wake up early and 2. I never have moments to myself.
I came across the scripture “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord”
Maybe you’re familiar with it? From the book of Job. You know the story when God allows Satan to ruin Jobs entire Earthly life by taking away his farm, house, family, and everything else he held dear. When all is said and done and Job barries his family and has nothing left he says these words “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Satan was pissed. Because the whole purpose of his little experiment was to get Job, a committed lover of God, to curse God’s name and turn away from his faith. But Job did not.
I thought about that long and hard and I began to cry really really hard. I thought about a friend who has a son 2 months older than Isla Jane who passed away just 3 weeks ago from a rare form of brain cancer. He was dead within 5 months of discovering the horrible disease. I thought about another friend who is due with her son the same time as me, except her son will not live outside the womb. I thought about a fellow sister whose husband died a little over a month ago just 3 short months after they were married…even typing this I cry.
And then I thought about my friend who started her own business shortly after she was married and business is bombing and she gives all the credit to God’s goodness. Or my friend who found the man of her dreams and got married in the most beautiful ceremony on an Island in the South Pacific. Then of course my friend who is a writer and her blog was just picked up to be made into a book. ALL of these women credit their success to Jesus.
Would you believe me if I told you all of these women are the same people?
I watch my friend lose her baby to cancer just a year after her blog was picked up to be made into a book. She was on the sweet high of God’s goodness in life and then the worst happened. Her sweet beautiful son was diagnosed with the worst possible form of cancer that would quickly and swiftly take his tiny life.
I often listen to some girls much younger than myself complain about God and “where is God” when life sucks. And those same girls bless God’s name when life is good (i.e. going their way). Something I have learned through many of my own trails is this: God is God and I am not. His way are higher than my own: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord” Isaiah 55:8. Even in the hardest of times I try to bless His name.
As a military spouse this can be exceptionally difficult. Thankfully, I am surrounded by a dozen women who encourage me not to live in my self pity or anxiety but to seek first His Kingdom. They send me right to scripture while still allowing me to lament (because it often just feels good to say EXACTLY how you feel even if it is rather “ugly”). When I’m done lamenting straight to Jesus is where they send me.
What do you do when you feel like God isn’t good? God isn’t good by your standards of what good is. God isn’t good because you don’t have what you want? God isn’t good because you’ve lost someone you love.
But God is good. His ways are higher.
There is one book out there that has pulled me through some of the most difficult season of my life and it’s written by one of my favorite author’s Ann Voskamp. Her wisdom is beyond me and every time I read her blogs I close my computer feeling encouraged. In her book “One Thousand Gifts” she shows us the way to true gratefulness admits some of life’s most tumultuous tragedies.
To be thankful. To give thanks.
To give thanks in ALL circumstances. Every day.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:!2