“We can look back across all 66 books of the Bible and see the threads of God’s eternal plan, read the numerous accounts of His deliverance, and rejoice at the salvation God provides.“
Written by Abigail Croft
Is God unfaithful? No. Is God unloving? No. Is God good? ALWAYS.
I know these things to be true. However, in the midst of my struggles, I find it hard to believe that God is who he says he is. I doubt his love for me, question his purpose, and feel like his faithfulness is a facade.
None of these things are reality, because God is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Neither his characteristics nor his love for me changes – though my circumstances do. I am thankful for the people in my life who have reminded me of that, and especially for the encouragement found in God’s Word. Psalm 42 (my favorite) is one of the places that I turn to in times of despair:
“My soul is cast down within me; therefore, I remember you” (v. 5c)
Here, the Psalmist reminds himself and others to look back on God’s track record of goodness and remember everything he has done. For us, we can look back across all 66 books of the Bible and see the threads of God’s eternal plan, read the numerous accounts of His deliverance, and rejoice at the salvation God provides.
We must also pause and remember that examples of deliverance in the Bible do not promise deliverance on earth. For example, I have physical ailments that are “permanent” only in the sense that they are not likely to go away on Earth. My chronic headaches, knee/ankle issues and developing arthritis are probably going to stick around for a while. Nevertheless, I can look forward to the day when I will be given a heavenly body to replace my earthly one!
In addition to my physical struggles, mental health problems have (and continue to) plague me. Despite difficulty, I can be thankful for these through the Holy Spirit because God uses them for my sanctification. Even if I don’t understand it, I have learned that God has a purpose in each of my struggles; even in the worst of my circumstances, God has brought glory to Himself and taught me valuable lessons that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
My constant headaches are teaching me patience and a greater reliance on the Lord. My chronic pain reminds me that I am limited, more so than I want to be. However, this causes me to remember that I must take care of the body that God designed for me. Depression illuminates my need to find peace and joy in Christ alone. Finally, loneliness teaches me to be thankful for the wonderful Christian community which the Lord has provided me with and prompts me to reach out to others to build relationships.
Regardless of whether your difficulties match up to mine or constitute something else entirely, God has a purpose in pain and hardship. And He is still faithful when we cannot understand his divine purposes.
I cannot even pretend to have this concept fully grasped. I still forget the wonderful truths of who God is or get trapped in cycles of despair, but that does not change God’s goodness. I constantly need to remind myself of who God is. And there is no better way to know Him more than to read the Bible. In seasons where I have not been as consistent with my Bible reading, I notice a difference. God gave us his Word as a guide and it is one we need to consult often.
I am thankful that the Holy Spirit provides sanctification, the process of growth, by which I pray I will learn to rely on God all the more. He is faithful to teach us through our hardships and patience to wait as we learn the lesson.