I used to think that those things meant that God didn't love me.
Like somehow I was less worthy, less valuable, less loved than everyone else because I was suffering hardship. I saw these things as punishment from God for past sins or from just not measuring up.
My outlook was completely turned upside-down three years ago- through a series of God-laid events...
We had plans for my husband to move up in his company.
Plans to pay off nearly $12,000 in debt.
Plans to move into a bigger house to accommodate our growing family.
Those plans-- as lovely as they were-- were soon rocked by the news that my husband’s position was being exterminated and he would be losing his job.
(That's the sound of the air being let out of our balloons.)
I was devastated…to say the least. After my husband shared the news, I quickly escaped to a quiet bath-- trying to process it all. Why would God do this to us?
I crawled into bed later that night unable to speak even a word to my poor husband. As I laid there in bed that solemn night, shaken and speechless, I took my cares to the Lord.
Clearer than day I heard Him reply, "Do you not think I knew this was going to happen?"
Yes, Lord, I know you knew...
"I allowed this to happen."
"Because I love you."
Love? This doesn’t feel like love.
"I have better plans for you than you could ever imagine for yourself."
Unable to sleep, I meditated on all this. And as I did, something remarkable happened… my tears of worry, sadness, and frustration dissolved into joy.
Joy that overtook my entire being, almost to the point of laughter-- I honestly have never experienced anything like it before or since in my entire life!
Since I was a child, I had been taught that God loved me-- we talked about it, sang about it, heard whole sermons on it, but it never really hit home until this moment in my life.
One would think that such a revelation would occur when things were good, when everything was going right.
But it didn't.
It was in one of the lowest and most fear-filled moments of my life that I knew...
God loves me.
He has my life in His hands.
He is trustworthy.
From one moment believing God had it out for me, to another moment knowing He was for me.
It was a transforming encounter that I walked away from forever marked by His grace.
And do you know what?
God did come through-- from meeting our everyday, practical needs, to some crazy, inexplicable miracles-- His plan turned out to be far greater than our own measly, New Years resolutions.
Despite my experiences, sometimes I am tempted to slip back into my old mindset, and each and every time I have to go back to that dark night three years ago-- that unforgettable encounter with God’s extravagant love on display.
I have seen the faithfulness of God who truly "causes everything to work together for then good of those who love [Him]..." (Romans 8:28)
Whenever things are tough in life.
Whenever you cannot see the good.
Whenever God seems distant or uncaring...
Know that He cares. He loves. He works for your good.
And that is something you can rest in.
No more worrying, no more striving, no more trying to work things out on your own. He sees the entire picture, and He is piecing the events of your life together into a masterpiece for His glory.
Rest in His trustworthy love for you today.