“I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties,” John 16:33 (MSG).
Several years ago, I find myself uncomfortably seated in a waiting room. I casually turn back the magazine pages to pass the time. I think to myself, “I wish I never felt that lump.” Now, I am suffering through mammograms and ultrasounds to determine whether or not I have cancer.
The next two months are full of waiting, wondering, and worrying.
The word “suspicious,” is on the lips of every doctor. One test leads to another. The next test leads to a procedure. The waiting in between test results, phone calls, and appointments is excruciating. What if I have cancer? What if I can’t have children? What if I die?
The “what-ifs” paralyze me. The “whys” beg for my attention. I’m tangled up in fear. I try to shake them loose but they ferociously reappear and settle right back. No matter what I do. No matter how hard I try. I ask God to move this mountain of complication, but His answer seems to be “No, I want you to climb it.” This isn’t the answer I want to hear.
The Bible says we will experience difficulties in our lives. So, why do we sometimes think we should get a free pass from hard times?
I wish I could say I responded to my circumstances like King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles before heading to battle. Jehoshaphat knew he was outnumbered, but he also knew he had God on his side. He looked up to heaven and cried, “I don’t know what I’m doing but my eyes are on you God.” My eyes were not on God. They were on me. I was more concerned with my personal relief than God’s glory. The only thing glorified in my pain was the pain itself.
These moments, illuminated my fear instead of my absolute dependency on God. My response ~ fear, insecurity, and anxiousness. God’s response ~ courage, security, and a calming solution.
I did not have cancer, but I did not have the faith I wanted to either.
During these times, we must remember that…
God is the source of our comfort in difficult times;
Because we believe in God, we are unshakable and at peace;
We stand in the shadow of the cross where there is no bad news;
It’s God’s party and He invited us, not the other way around;
Sometimes, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so we can be there for that person just as God was there for us (see 2 Corinthians 1:3 MSG);
We have an opportunity to know our God more;
We learn obedience in what we are suffering; and
We don’t have to live alongside trouble alone - God is always there.
The next time we find ourselves standing in the shadow of bad news, how will our soul react? Will we draw closer to God or further away from Him?