When my life does not go the way I hoped, it is easy for me to disengage and become discouraged. These are the moments when it is imperative I remind myself that when things are not working out the way I hoped, the Lord still loves and cares for me.
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I need to know that my frustrated hopes and dreams do not mean that God is not in my story. Contrary to my “man-centered thinking,” the good Lord is choosing to write a story that is different from the one I expected.
If God is with you, which He is, you must understand that He is doing good things for you. Though you may not perceive His mysterious will for your life (Deuteronomy 29:29; Isaiah 55:8-9), what He is choosing to write for you will turn out for your good (Romans 8:28), His fame, and the benefit of many people. The Lord’s will for you is not about knowing all the facts, but about trusting the Author of those facts.
There are times in your life that are excruciatingly painful, and there is nothing you can do to alleviate the suffering. You cannot pray it away, manipulate it away, or wish it away. A positive mental attitude will only last a day or two, but you soon return to the pit of sorrow and anguish.
It is in those moments that the reality of “life gone bad” settles deep into your soul, and the current circumstances begin to define who you are. It is in those moments when you need a significant realignment of the soul.
Though the fog is not lifting and there is no anticipation it will ever rise above the trouble in your life, you must rest in the assurance that God has not abandoned you. God is working His plans into your life.
Your journey can go no other way than the way He has predetermined for you. It is the Lord who orders your steps (Proverbs 16:9). Before you ever entered into your suffering, God was there (Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 1:3-10). He was working, planning, strategizing, and implementing things in such a way that would forever change you.
He is not doing this because He is harsh, distant, or uncaring. He is doing this precisely because He is kind, with you, and loves you. The Lord’s love is more extravagant than you could ever imagine. When Job reflected upon these profound things, it caused a long reflective pause.
But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind. Therefore I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me, yet I am not silenced because of the darkness, nor because thick darkness covers my face. – Job 23:13-17
God is in your darkness, which removes the terror. Talk to Him today, even if it is only a faint heart cry. Bear your soul to your heavenly Father. Live in the truth that He is finishing what He began in you (Philippians 1:6). God is an extravagant lover in your suffering.
Also published on Medium.