When my stepmom died I really wrestled with the idea of suffering and grief. I was confused. Why would God let my family experience such hardship? Of course I had read time and time again how Christians all over the world suffer from things substantially worse than losing a loved one to cancer. And yet somehow this suffering was an ethereal, intangible idea. An idea I never imagined would touch my family.
After all, I hadn’t even started a family yet! There was so much of my life still to be lived and my parents had to be there for every congratulatory second of it.
This was the mentality I had. It wasn’t sinful in and of itself, but it was rooted in a false expectation of a fulfilling life.
My mentality was influenced by how, according to culture, a life of satisfaction should look.
I banked my happiness in people, specifically my family.
Yes, I love Jesus.
Yes, I live for Him.
Yes, I trust Him.
But deep down my fulfillment was too conjoined with how our society thinks family should look (i.e. have both of my parents around until they were old enough to watch their grandchildren grow up— as if being able to physically give birth is even possible for me. News flash: fertility is not promised! And this is something that, should the Lord write into my story, I will have to learn to be ok with. But that conversation is for another time).
God is Faithful
The truth is, loving Jesus and growing closer to him should be our focus. This should be our chief end— to love, know, and grow in Him and to make Him known.
If I focus on what I think I deserve as a “Bible-believing” “Jesus-loving” Christian, then I’ve got it all wrong.
He has promised to take care of our every need – see how the lilies grow (Matthew 6:28-30).
He’s given us Jesus, the greatest of gifts!
But God is also sovereign. It is the Lord that gives and takes away (Job 1:21).
And the ugly truth is that this world is broken. But sin did that… not God.
We must fix our eyes on the God who is faithful and who carries us – He will never leave us, nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Keep Trusting God
Since momma’s passing, I am still learning what it looks like to trust God beyond just an intellectual understanding. This messy life is full of unpredictable, upsetting circumstances. But it’s in these hard times where leaning into Christ is most important.
In his book Side by Side, Ed Welch says that “[o]ne of the critical spiritual skills as a follower of Jesus is to bring order to the internal ruckus and grow in trouble rather than rage or wither in it (2 Cor. 4:16)” (p.40).
So trust in the Lord, friend.
Know that it is God’s desire for you to keep trusting and believing in his promises.
Bank your happiness in Christ and Him crucified because it’s in His death and resurrection that you now have hope and life everlasting, even in the midst of suffering.