There are times when we fall so far, we look up and all we see are the cliff walls on either side stretching so high they blot out the light. Sometimes the storm rages around so fiercely, we cannot even recall what warmth is. The storm threatens to drown out any memory of what it was like to have the sun shine on our faces.
Last night, I sat down and wrote an email to a good friend. I unloaded on him. I wrote out everything that had been going wrong in the last few months. Actually, the last few years haven’t been great. But the last few months specifically (and this last week) have been the hardest we’ve ever faced. If it can go wrong, it has. And now, my brother-in-law being sick has helped us hit what I pray is rock bottom.
I can’t pretend we have it all together. The truth is, we are powerless. I can’t heal. I can’t magically generate money. I can’t make projects happen if they get cancelled. I can’t even console my family that well. So I acknowledge that. I shout at God. I say “I don’t understand this! I don’t like this! I want you to fix this! I need you!” I shout it through bitter tears.
Whatever he chooses to do, though, I will not pretend everything is fine. I will acknowledge the storm. Why? Because this storm is in the hand of the Lord. It is centered over my family for a season because that is exactly where God wants it. I’m not one who believes God is hands-off when it comes to suffering. I believe the Bible teaches that everything is part of his ultimate plan. That includes catastrophic suffering. I do not believe the Devil runs freely and does whatever he wants. The only things the Devil does, are things God allows him to. Even Satan is a pawn in the ultimate plan for our King’s glorification.
So if our present suffering is truly in God’s control and part of his ultimate will, I believe it dishonors him to pretend it isn’t so bad. I acknowledge things are terrible. I acknowledge that I am powerless in all of it. And in that a need is created in me for Christ. A hunger that nothing else will satisfy. My prayer is that we suffer well.
He gives me warmth even when the sun cannot penetrate the storm.
I am in his hands.