February 16, 2021
The Other Side of Why
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"My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you." Job 42:5 (NIV)
My son, Steven, and I sat on the floor in his room, playing a card game. This summer was proving to be the best ever. Our golden retriever, Ginger, had just delivered seven adorable puppies; Steven was enjoying his sixth summer of life, and after four years of negative pregnancy tests, God had surprised us with a new life growing inside my womb.
But as Steven and I sat cross-legged on the carpet, I sensed something was wrong. A trip to the bathroom confirmed my greatest fears. Later that afternoon, the doctor voiced the weighty words, "There is no heartbeat."
What do you do when heartbreak slams into joy? When your soul cracks open and there just aren't enough tears? When hurt steals your hope, and you want to give up on life? When deep soul lesions make a mockery of your faith?
I wish I could tell you I left the doctor's office quoting Romans 8:28a about how " ... all things work together for good ..." (ESV). I wish I could tell you that I calmly accepted the loss of my baby with faith, trusting that even this was somehow part of God's plan. I wish I could tell you I spent the rest of the day singing "It is Well with My Soul." But I didn't do any of those things.
I went home, crawled in bed and pulled the covers up over my empty womb and broken heart. I didn't want to talk to anyone, especially God. And what I did say to Him wasn't very nice.
How could You do this to me? If this is how you treat those You love, then just forget it! You answered my prayer only to take it back! Why me? Why this? Why now?
Job was a man in the Bible who also had a lot of questions for God. In one day, his enemies killed all but a handful of his servants and stole all 11,000 heads of livestock. Then a strong wind collapsed his son's house and killed all 10 of Job's children. If we're familiar with the story, though, we know how it all ends: The Lord not only restored what Job had lost, but "gave him twice as much as he had before" (Job 42:10b, NIV).
But can you imagine what it was like to live through it in real time? Job was stuck in a bad story, and he saw no end in sight. He had no idea why it was happening. He didn't know God would give him twice as much as he had before. All he knew was loss, disappointment and pain. That might be where you are right now, stuck in a story you don't like. But hang on! God's pen has not slipped. He's still in control. There's more to come.
My favorite line in Job's story comes at the very end. Job says to God, "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you" (Job 42:5). That is my prayer in every difficult circumstance of life. I don't want to simply hear about God; I want to see God and have communion with Him in the midst of it.
Sometimes we have to let go of our plans to take hold of God's purpose ... and it's always good. A house full of children was not how my chapter of infertility and the loss of a child ended, but I can still say it had a good ending. God has made me fertile in so many other areas, and I wouldn't change a thing. When women come to me trying to make sense of the disappointments in their lives, I can say, "Come, sit with me. Let me tell you a story."
And I know He can do that for you.
Lord, there are some parts of my story that still ache, and perhaps that ache will never go away completely. However, I know that you can use every tear to water the seeds of hope in someone else's life. I release my pain to You, and wait open-handed for Your purpose on how to use my story to help someone else. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Deuteronomy 32:4, "He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he." (NIV)
Everyone likes a good story, but not everyone likes their own story. Let 2021 be the year that you turn your worst chapters into your greatest victories. Check out Sharon's book, When You Don't Like Your Story: What If Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories? I know that they can! This book will help you get there.
Let's face it, relationships are hard. When disagreements happen, feelings are hurt and tensions rise, we ask ourselves, "Is this worth it?" But what if instead of retreating from the relationship, we looked at what the Bible says about friendship? Our next study, How Then Can We Be Friends? Overcoming the Issues that Hinder Your Relationships is starting February 22! Join our Facebook group as we study the friendships in the book of Philippians together. Click here to join!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one difficult chapter in your life that you feel God is calling you to share with others? Leave a comment and let's chat.
© 2021 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.