What is your “all this?”
Recently, I wrote a story for the paper about a domestic violence survivor.
She said she married a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” He was one way while they were dating and another once they were married.
She grew up in church, the daughter of a pastor, and believed that marriage was sacred, ’til death do us part.
But then her husband nearly killed her.
She told me her story, including some horrific details. She said at one point she thought, “Where is God in all this?”
Now that she has escaped from her husband and he is facing a long prison sentence, she said she’s finally seeing that God had always been in “all this,” all her trauma and pain, her long physical recovery from her injuries and the even longer and ongoing emotional and mental recovery.
God was and still is right there with her.
When she was telling me her story, she kept saying how good God has been to her and that now she sees his hand in all the ways he has rescued her.
But at the time, she didn’t always see it.
When you’re going through “all this,” whatever your “all this” is, sometimes you can’t see how any good can come from it or even that God is in it, or that he even cares.
Because sometimes it sure looks and feels like he’s uncaring, even cruel.
I never claim to know what God’s doing in a person’s life or why terrible things happen.
There’s real evil in this world and we do terrible things to each other.
Can God stop it? Yes, he can.
Why doesn’t he? I don’t know, except that he has promised he is making all things new.
But in the meantime, terrible things happen. And God is there in the midst of it, giving his people grace to endure.
Christianity Today writer Kindra Soto writes, “Living in a hurting body and a hurting world has caused me to witness how we as sinning, suffering children of God often fail to see how God is present in the rubble and ruin of our lives.
“Even more so, we often forget that God is not only present there, but longs to be present there — for us and with us in our greatest distress.
“Our God is not only the One who heals, our God is the One who stays,” she writes. “Holding onto this promise of his presence is key to suffering well — most definitely, when our affliction lingers, when our losses must be honored with tears, when all hope seems lost.”
Soto ends with: “Although we as finite human beings are naturally wired to avoid and mitigate the risk of pain, suffering and trauma at all costs, we can find true rest in Jesus, the One who knows exactly how it feels to be human in every possible way.”
Jesus said in this world we WILL have tribulation and suffering, sorrow, frustration and distress. Then he said, “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
God is making all things new.
In the meantime, we have this assurance: “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
In all of this, he is with us to the end and throughout eternity.
Nancy Kennedy can be reached at 352-564-2927 or by email at email@example.com.