This morning, I read Janelle's thoughtful post on faith:
Something in the conversation about Mom's surgery made me remark that
although we admire the faithful men and women of Scripture and want to
be like them, we don't want to walk through the tribulation it takes to
achieve great faith. We want to stand tall and be counted in the
number, but when the tiniest inconvenience or difficulty pops up, we
duck and run for cover. Like it or not, faith isn't built by running
from difficulty. It comes from standing firm on the promises of God -
believing what's written in black and white when everything at the
moment looks pink and blue.
If you look at biblical heroes from
Abraham to Sarah to Moses to David to any of the prophets to Mary the
mother of Jesus, these men and women walked through fire, hell and
pressing circumstances to become known as faithful. They suffered
greatly. They questioned and rallied. But ultimately, they stood firm
looking forward, trusting God. They knew that no matter what happened,
He is good, knows best, loves them unconditionally and will work things out. He is God.
Not too long ago, we went through a very difficult season in our lives, perhaps the most difficult we have ever gone through. My husband was diagnosed through cancer following a surgery to remove a lump in his neck, and then went through nearly 5 months of chemotherapy, and he is just now reaching the end of his rehabilitation process as he regains his strength and goes back to work. To top off an already challenging situation, I was 7 months pregnant with our second child when we received the diagnosis, and Caden was born between Ryan's 2nd and 3rd chemo treatments.
As I look back on this time in our lives, I praise God for the ways that he developed my faith leading up to the cancer. Only the year before, we had been struggling with infertility (not to the same degree as so many other women, so I even hesitates to mention it, but it was real and painful in our lives nonetheless). During that year, I fought with God. I pleaded, I got angry, I felt hopeless, I charged Him with being unfair.
At the end of that year, I was given the book Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, a treatise on the sovereignty of God. As I read, I began to understand and accept the fact that He is God, He can and will do as He pleases, and He is always good, no matter what. His plans may differ from my plans, but they are for my good, and for my sanctification into the likeness of Jesus. Finally, there was peace in my soul as I trusted in the God who knows and made me.
When faced with cancer, I suddenly became grateful for that experience. God had used a trial in my life to develop my faith and prepare me for the difficult season ahead. I can say with joy that through (and only through) the sheer and inexhaustible grace of God, I did not charge Him or become angry at Him because of our circumstances. Instead, I felt inexplicable peace, and thankfulness for His care for us in the midst of it all.
Tribulations and trials are not the enemy. There is an Enemy of our souls who desires to use these trials to turn our eyes away from God, and to cause us to cease to believe in His promises (that He has already met our greatest need through the cross of Christ).
As Janelle wisely said, when trying circumstances come and present us with the opportunity to allow our faith to be strengthened, let us welcome them.