Several months ago during the darkest time in my life, feeling very afraid and alone, and realizing my worst fear had come to past - I began to pray. I hate to admit it, but it was my husband's suggestion that I pray - not my idea. (You see, in times of crisis and suffering we need our Christian community to carry us to our Lord when we can't walk ourselves). As I prayed and pleaded with God, I heard him say to me, "Do you trust me?" The first fleeting thought that popped into my head was, "Well, great. That's never a good thing to be asked." But, my first reaction and response was, "Yes, of course I trust you." Saying that I trusted Him in that moment hurt so badly that I began to wonder if it was true. In the months that followed, I began to feel more and more like I didn't trust God because it was so hard to say and even harder to walk it.
A couple of months I ago I was reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, and I came across this revelation.
"Have you ever felt the pain, inflicted by the Lord, at the very center of your being, deep down in the most sensitive area of your life? The devil never inflicts pain there, and neither can sin nor human emotions. Nothing can cut through to that part of our being but the Word of God. "Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?'" Yet he was awakened to the fact that at the center of his personal life he was devoted to Jesus. And then he began to see what Jesus' patient questioning meant. There was not the slightest bit of doubt left in Peter's mind; he could never be deceived again. And there was no need for an impassioned response; no need for immediate action or an emotional display. It was a revelation to him to realize how much he did love the Lord, and with amazement he simply said, 'Lord, You know all things...' Peter began to see how very much he did love Jesus, and there was no need to say, 'Look at this or that as proof of my love.' Peter was beginning to discover within himself just how much he really did love the Lord. He discovered that his eyes were so fixed on Jesus Christ that he saw no one else in heaven above or on the earth below. But he did not know it until the probing, hurting questions of the Lord were asked. The Lord's questions always reveal the true me to myself. Oh, the wonder of the patient directness and skill of Jesus Christ with Peter! Our Lord never asks questions until the perfect time. Rarely, but probably once in each of our lives, He will back us into a corner where He will hurt us with His piercing questions. Then we will realize that we do love Him far more deeply than our words can ever say."
Shortly after this, my friend reminded me of the hymn "It is Well with My Soul." As I began to sing the chorus, I was overwhelmed with tears and grief. And, what I originally thought was distrust was actually the realization that I really did trust in Him with all my heart. This realization is a difficult one to have because it means that no matter what happens in life, I trust in Him to see me through it and to use it for His glory - but, this doesn't always mean that I will be happy with the circumstances. To come to a place of total surrender to His will is a humbling experience.
He has told us in His Word to trust Him and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:4). He reminded us that His ways are higher than ours ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). Promise after promise in the Bible declares that He is sovereign; and yet, He continues to remind us of His faithfulness and His grace through the gentle leading of His Spirit. When I begin to doubt His goodness and His plans for my life, He reminds me with the peaceful whistling of a bird in a nearby tree or by allowing me to see a single sunflower standing in a field by itself. In the weeks and months that followed this tragedy it was hard for me to discern His voice, so in His gentleness He spoke to me in a way that He knew I could receive. He doesn't have to extend His grace and mercy to us and we certainly don't deserve it, but He does anyway. He doesn't have to remind us that He is trustworthy and sovereign and faithful to His Word, but He chooses to do so. The Lord is good when things are good; He is good when things are bad - and He is sovereign over both.