Do you ever have those moments or even those days where you're just like "Hello, God.. Where are you in this?!" Nothing seems to make sense. You've heard over and over that God is in it, but you tried seeing it with your reading glasses, a magnifying glass, and the jumbo print version of the latest self-help book, but still cannot seem to see Him in it, at all.
I think sometimes society in 2019 falls into the trap of believing the lie that the person we see across from us has it all together- that our coworkers have much more impactful and exciting lives, that our friends are more successful, that the stranger in the grocery store probably has no problems, that the person on vacation in your newsfeed has all the money in the world, and problems, what are those?
On some level, haven't we set an expectation of perfection amongst ourselves? We feel the pressure to appear as if we have it all together because God forbid someone know that we truly are struggling with something on the inside.
It's an unhealthy lifestyle that traps handfuls of people. It leads to anxiety, depression, overworking ourselves, stress, and unrest. We become afraid to stand out, to be different, to speak what's truly on our mind, to pursue what we're passionate about because we're afraid of what other people will think, to forgive and forget because sometimes holding a grudge is easier than showing grace, and we wouldn't know how to live without that anger we've held on to for so long. We continue on living this way, afraid of what would happen if we stepped into what we believe God has been calling us to, what we think about and wish we could do daily, what it'd feel like to not have to live with that hurt anymore. As a result of living a life that we know is contrary to what God wants of us, we begin to resent where we are, the way things are, and begin to question God.
"If you're so good and always work things out for our good, then where are you in this?"
I won't try to pretend with you guys. I have those days, and I think if we're all honest, we could all agree. I have those moments where I try to understand, try to make sense of things, and question where God is in it. If i'm brutally honest, I had one of those nights a few nights ago, and as I went for a run, that's all I could think about. I've been wrestling with it on and off for awhile, and it's been a consistent prayer of mine for close to probably five years. Has this situation improved? Not hardly. It's only progressed, causing deeper pain than at the beginning of it all, making less and less sense.
God knows what I long for, what I've craved my entire life, yet this one prayer seems to only become foggier and messier. In those moments, I search myself and wonder where I went wrong. Don't we do that sometimes? Try to put the blame upon ourselves for something that has nothing to do with anything we said or did, that's completely out of our control? I know the truth, I know who am I in Christ, but yet, the devil tries to creep his way in, convincing me that in some way, it is my fault. In John 10:10, we read: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
As I stopped for a few minutes to just close my eyes on the path surrounded by cornstalks, I knew that in those moments of questioning, that's what the devil was trying to do. To steal my happiness, to kill my thankfulness, to fog my mind with thoughts that were completely contrary to what He believes of us. I just listened to the wind, the corn blowing, the birds chirping, to let my mind slow down. The sun shone right through the top of the corn, a ray right on my shoulder, my face.
"I'm right here, Hil. I'm all around you. Trust me."
As I flipped open my Bible later that night, it opened to Job. A man who went through the ringer.. His children died, employees were murdered, his animals were attacked and stolen. He went through some incredibly hard things, all at once. He could have let that overwhelm him and curse and question God, but what did he do? He praised God. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."
If Job could praise through those trials, can't we do the same when we go through things? Shouldn't I be able to trust Him with whatever I go through?
Trust me. Two words, easy to say, hard to grasp, sometimes hard to practice. As I looked back at those years and reflected more on what I read, I might not have gotten my prayer answered how I would have liked, but rather, in ways completely different than I could have imagined. Even if it hurts in some ways and I try to make it make sense, I know that some things I will just never understand on this side of heaven and that's the way it is. I know it's not without purpose, I know God is working in and through it, and looking back, there are so many other ways that the Lord opened up and closed doors and brought people into my life, people He knew I needed, that have poured into me and loved me in ways that I never knew possible. An answer to the same prayer, but in a completely different avenue than I would have anticipated.
The thing is, sometimes our prayers might not be answered, but what if you truly had every prayer answered that you have prayed? Our lives would probably be a wreck. Sometimes they'll be answered in different ways than you had hoped or anticipated, but trust Him. I know it's easy to say that, and so much harder to live, but just have faith that He is indeed working everything together for your good, in His perfect timing, in the perfect way. In our microwave, instantaneous culture, it stinks to have to wait for things. But I would much rather wait for His perfect plan, than trying to devise a plan of my own.
Trust Him. Trust His timing. Trust His process. He's in it. He's all around you. He's in your pain, your heartbreak, your uncertainty, your stress, your problems. He is our one constant that never leaves. When we're weak, He is strong. When we don't know what to say or how to pray, all we have to do is say His name. He's the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, the smile from the stranger passing by.
He died for us. He loves us. He knows each and every one of our hearts. He died so that we could have life, and not a life where we pretend that we have it all together, that we don't hurt, that we don't go through things that we don't understand, because we all will have those things we go through. But, He is there each and every step of the way, and He can bring fullness, redemption, restoration, hope, peace, and love to the fullest to even the darkest of times. Trust Him.