If we are honest, there are times in our lives when we don’t understand God’s ways and when it feels as though He has turned his face from us. In a number of the Psalms the writer asks God that very question, as we read in Psalm 88:14 ‘Why, O LORD, do you reject me and hide your face from me’? And in Psalm 69:17 ‘Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble’.
I too have felt that God abandoned me when I needed Him the most, and yet in my battle to find answers to the many perplexing questions that confronted me, I found that God was always with me, but because my eyes were blinded by demands that relied on my understanding, I could not see Him.
I remember when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. Despite our desperate prayers for healing the disease steadily progressed, and in my pain I would sometimes cry out to God “whose good does this promise apply to?” I do believe that God allows us to ask these somewhat arrogant questions in those times of deep pain, and also that we will receive an answer – when we are willing to listen to His truths.
Today I can testify that God’s promise that ‘ALL things work together for good’ has become my anchor. It’s the rock on which I stand when I feel that the boat I’m travelling on is being swamped in the stormy lake, and that I’m struggling with the storms of adversity on my own.
Recently my youngest son died of a brain tumour, but the journey through this storm was different – because I knew Jesus was in the boat with me, and if He was asleep, it was because He knew that our Father would keep us safe. It is in these times of darkness and overwhelming sorrow that we need to be fully assured of God’s unchangeable attributes, and that our loving heavenly Father will never allow anything to happen in our life unless it can be turned to good. Then we will be able to run into His outstretched arms of love and trust Him despite the circumstances.
The secret, I believe, is in the first three words of our verse ‘AND WE KNOW’. It’s in knowing God and His love for us that we become confident in His dealings with us. I do not believe we can or will see all things working together for good, unless we trust God with an intimate knowledge of His character of absolute love and absolute goodness. Remember the story of Naomi and her two daughters-in-law. Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye – Ruth clung to her. In these difficult times, we need to cling to God in a passionate embrace and totally abandon ourselves to Him.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for every one of Your promises and the sure knowledge that if we reach out to You in complete abandonment and trust, You
will bring them to fruition in our lives. Help us, Father, when we pass through the valleys to reach out to You in our anguish and pain, and to let go of all of our own understanding and reasoning. Amen.
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