Heartache, if allowed can pave the way to a deep connection between you and God. There was a saying going around when my daughter Haylie died; “you can get better or you can get bitter” I hated that saying. Of course I wanted to get better…but how? (Years later He required broken instead of better…but that’s a different story!)
The day after her funeral my husband and I, along with our four-year old son Joshua, went out-of-town to try to regroup. One night while waiting for a table at a Mexican restaurant a mass of people scooted in next to us, they sat so close that their daughter’s feet were in my lap. We chatted and the inevitable question came up. How many children do you have? At first we all froze. This was the first, but certainly not the last time that question was ever asked. Truthfully, I still stumble for the right answer. My husband looked at me, I looked at Josh, we fidgeted and looked at each other again. I answered and out came the whole story. The woman who asked the question was a beautiful, subtle blonde who wore a soft, yellow turtle neck. Tears came to her eyes as she told us the story of her two-year old daughter who died, just a few years back. I looked at her and said, “you are so beautiful and look so normal. I don’t think I will ever feel normal again.” Her response; “God and time.”
In the following years when tempted to bend towards bitter I would recall the woman in the yellow turtle neck-adorned in grace-without a trace of bitterness.
God put that woman in my path. He faithfully causes our lives to curve and bend in directions that lead to Him. He had the answer (the how) to the better or bitter question, before I ever asked it. All throughout the time Haylie was dying and clear through the grieving process God in His faithfulness set up situations just as this one. Little helps and nudges that assisted me in healing and finding Him. A surrendered tender heart toward God will allow the treasure of His faithfulness to be revealed.
Another treasure that has helped me through life is the concept of allow. God does not allow anything to happen to us unless it passes through Him first. At first this could be alarming and take us back to the “why” question, (but we already cleared that up in the last blog post). In the book of Job we see Satan asked God if he could wreak havoc on Job. Then we see that God allowed him to devastate Job’s life. We can find comfort in the idea that everything the devil or the world throws at us has to be allowed by God.
It’s comforting because:
1. We trust God and His faithfulness-He is faithful–He loves and cares for us-His promises are true. (1 Peter 5:7)
2. We can rest assured that He will not let anything we cannot handle come to us. This means He has faith in us that we will make it through. (1 Corinthians 10:1)
3. In our weakness we are made strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)
4. We know that God see’s the beginning from the end and will help us. (Psalm 121)
Jesus suffered and in essence made a way for us. (Hebrews 5:8) Through His suffering we are made whole, we are comforted because even though in suffering we might not feel whole, we have faith that we will be. We know that His amazing love fills in all our gaps. There is not a religion and/or pill that can promise that!
We basically have two choices:
A. Be the people who let the punches of tragedy send them on a never-ending roller coaster, allowing negativity to define us.
B. Take advantage of suffering and embrace it. Knowing it’s part of life, and can be a refining fire. Allowing God to define us into pure hearted believers.
A sure treasure I found in tragedy is this..I look at it as purposeful. Why? How? Because it causes me to see my weakness and thrusts me into God–the only safe place to live life. The only place I can take all my pain, questions, misunderstandings and disappointments of life. I can lay them all down, letting them go and make an exchange with Almighty loving God, who cares for and loves me.
When tragedy approaches I try not to even give the devil a second look, I turn to God and ask “What do You want to accomplish in me, through this?”
The “hows” of finding treasure in tragedy are easy…trust God, He will never leave you or forsake you!
I ask you, what does God want to accomplish in you through suffering?
In part three of this post we will look at Job and what treasure he found in tragedy and how?
Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has mercy on you.”
1 Peter 1:6-7 “There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trial for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
1 Peter 5:10 “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”