Every day, year after year, God’s writing my story. Every day, whether or not I can understand the circumstances I face, He has a very good plan for whatever I face. And regardless of my comprehension, His plan is for my good and His glory.
I believe this not only because His word says so, but also because I have seen His work and His glory has been continually revealed in His work in my life and in the lives around me. This isn’t one of those God’s Word says it, I believe it, and that settles it! sorts of statements. Truly, it doesn’t matter if I believe it or not: if God’s Word says it, it’s settled.
But by God’s grace and mercy, my seeing or experiencing God’s work affirms His work to me—it affirms His purpose in me. That’s one of the precious angles of the Lord I appreciate so much. He loves me so much that He affirms His work and reveals it to me. In some of the darkest days I wrote in the margin of my Bible next to different texts that spoke to my heart — things I could neither articulate nor utter. But the Word was so real to me — so living. And now, looking back at those notes in the margins and the accompanying dates they were written, I can clearly trace the Hand of the Lord in what’s been accomplished or experienced in and through those events.
Dark days or heavy trials are interesting things… I feel so isolated and helpless in them sometimes — even though they are the very things God uses to broaden my understanding and deepen my message — or to add to the story He’s writing. So many times I look back now and see that I was going along making a mess of my life—though I didn’t know it or think it at the time—and God has miraculously taken the messes I’ve made and is working them into a beautiful testimony of His faithfulness. Not a testimony of my cleverness to make it through this or that trial. No. Simply, His work to redeem what was hopeless and make it into something He could use for His glory.
I see more and more that’s why we go through trials——–trials prove the Lord strong on our behalf. Trials demonstrate to us our great weakness, our great need — and His great love.
I used to fear “the next trial” so much because I used to think that trials were given in some sort of level of intensity to prepare us for harder or more difficult future trials. And that sure put God in a peculiar position, didn’t it? As if in good times He’s a good God, and in bad times He’s an austere God — as if He’s got a tally sheet, or a punch card, keeping score on everyone. That’s not an accurate understanding of the merciful Lord. While the “next thing” might indeed seem a harder thing to face than the one previously faced, God’s not locked into the box of dealing in varying levels of hardships or trials for His children.
But I do know this—-He surely is a Master Pruner, a Master Gardener, cultivating in our lives the very things we need in order that we will be either more useful to Him or that we will be strengthened in faith to bring Him glory. And He uses trials to develop whatever angle of Spiritual fruit lacking or needing to be revealed in our lives. We would likely never choose those often painful tools the Lord’s chosen for our sanctification, would we? But think back on hard trials… they’re exactly what we needed to bring us to where we are today. And those foolish choices we made along the way? Even those are working together for good. Hard to see it sometimes, isn’t it?
The story He’s writing is a beautiful story — because He is good, He is loving and He is merciful — even when the story seems to have deep, dark valleys and rocky places. Do you see His hand in your story?