In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
As I write this I can’t help but simultaneously pray that those who need to “hear” these words will come across them and that God will be the one to write them, merely using my fingers to type them onto the screen.
I haven’t publicly shared any of this through anything I have written before, but lately I have felt that maybe I need to. Maybe somebody needs to hear it. My first “tribulation” came in the form of heartbreak. Long story short, I was previously married and my then husband left me for another woman. My whole world was turned upside down, and the enemy was beckoning me to let God go right out the door with my husband, but I knew I needed God more than ever. My hopes and dreams of being a wife and mother were painfully taken from me. I felt it was so unfair that someone else’s decisions and actions could take away my dreams, my hopes, and my heart. I wondered, “what is my life going to look like now? Can I get through this?” That was my first taste of experiencing God through pain in my life. I could spend pages upon pages talking about how God met me, revealed Himself to me, comforted me, and loved me through that season, but we will save that for another time 🙂
Fast forward to today. I was watching my sweet little 11 month old girl sleep in my arms. A deep peace, gratitude, and joy washed over me. In that moment I was reminded that she wouldn’t be here, sleeping peacefully in my arms and bringing so much joy to my husband and I and everyone who knows her, if I hadn’t been through that rough experience and season in my life. All the hopes and dreams that were torn from me those many years ago, were only delayed, not destroyed. Man could not destroy what God had planned. That season of my life was undoubtedly difficult and I remained single for many years – spent much time waiting – but God’s timing was so much wiser than my own.
I am reminded of what Joseph said to his brothers when they found out that they stood before not only the second in command in Egypt, but their very own brother whom they so many years prior had sold into slavery:
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today (Genesis 50:20).
I know that my ex and his current wife (the one he left me for) didn’t directly mean evil against me, but that was still the consequence of their actions.They didn’t “mean” to hurt me, but they did. But, you know what, God brought so much good. So much good that just typing about it is bringing tears to my eyes. Before he blessed me with my current husband and our amazing daughter – before my hope deferred became a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12) – He was still good! But now I have these tangible, hugable, kissable reminders (hubby & baby :)) that God is sovereign, loving, near, and absolutely in control. Not only do I have them, I also have a deeper relationship with my God and a clearer understanding of who He is, as well as a heart to see others grow in their relationship with and dependency on Him, and to come alongside others who have experienced similar pain. God. Wins.
I write not a word of this to speak any ill will or “throw under the bus” my ex and his wife. God has really helped me work through a lot, and I honestly hope that they are doing well – thriving in their marriage and as parents. I want them to know that God’s arms are open to them! Trust me, I have had my moments of bitterness, anger, and hurt, but now all that matters – and ever really has – is where we stand with Jesus. We have all both sinned and been sinned against, no one is an exception. Their sin isn’t worse than my own.Thankfully, God is bigger than both our hurt and the hurt we have caused others.If you have hurt others, repent and seek God’s forgiveness and trust that when you do, you truly are forgiven. If you have been hurt, entrust your heart and your circumstances to God, the only one worthy of that trust. Remember that God will work for good the things in your life that seem anything but good. There are a lot of very ugly things that happen in this broken world we live in, I don’t want to downplay that at all. But our only way to not be crushed under the weight of it is to trust Jesus’ words, I have overcome the world (John 16;33).
– – Oh how I praise God that for those who love Him all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). This verse is a well known one, often recited unfortunately to the point where many have let the frequency of the hearing overshadow the power and truth of its meaning. Please don’t wave off this verse if you are hurting, as if it’s some noneffective band-aid. Please, just believe it; stand on it. The Word of God breathed life and hope into me when I couldn’t breathe – and it still does. I have had times of doubt, and probably will again. I have had times of misunderstanding, but He brings to light what He wants us to know. I have had times of wrestling, but He has strengthened my faith through it. Just don’t let go – –
My heart so desires that everyone – whether in a deep place of hurt, on a spiritual high, or feeling content with where they are in life and with what God has given them – will have an increasing desire to know God, to really know Him. Let us not just know about Him. May we not be content to merely go through the contemporary Christian motions, but may we seek Him, as the treasure He is. This kind of seeking often comes when we have been in places of great pain – places where we have felt that if God didn’t show up, we were finished. Don’t wait though for trial to motivate you to seek His face. I wish that just by saying ‘He is real’, and ‘He is good’, that you would believe me – but better yet, is to “taste and see” yourself. However, be patient and steadfast in your seeking, and trust that even in the times of silence, he is not absent.
Thank you very much for taking the time to hear my heart; I hope that in some way it speaks to yours. I hope you find peace in knowing that though we experience, and can even cause, pain in this world, Jesus is not only a great Savior, but also a great redeemer!