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Jun 29

Knowing the ABCs of Trials

So if God can work all things together for good, does that mean in our lifetime we will see that promise come true?

Maybe, maybe not.

I consider myself extremely fortunate that God has allowed me to see firsthand how He has used my cancer diagnosis for good by giving me a worldwide ministry to cancer patients and their caregivers. However, I’m very aware that many others still are waiting to see that promise come true in their lives.

It’s one thing to know that someday—eventually—God will bring good from your bad situation; it’s another thing to have to live in that situation day-by-day. In those early, confusing post-diagnosis days, I had to come to terms with the fact I didn’t have the whole picture of what God was doing in and through my life.

Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely just as God knows me. 1 Corinthians 13:12

 

Our view from inside a cancer-storm is limited and distorted. We often cannot see how what is happening could ever possibly be used as part of God’s good plan for our lives. We don’t have the big picture.

But accepting that we don’t have the whole picture is not very comforting unless we also realize that the One who does loves us greatly.

Some years ago our youngest daughter, Lindsey, who had just graduated from college (and as the daughter most like me, butted heads with me the most as a teenager), wrote me a Mother’s Day note that said in part: “I didn’t always agree or understand when you said ‘no’ to me, but I never doubted that you loved me.”

That’s what it means to trust. We choose never to doubt that God loves us even if we don’t always agree or understand when He answers no to our prayers.

However, just knowing these two truths—that we don’t have the whole picture and a loving God does—is not enough. We have to continue to walk by faith and not by sight. I’ll be the first to admit that is not an easy task. Even if we’re not from Missouri, we humans tend to be “show me” people. We want to see first and then believe. I am an extremely skeptical person (which makes me a great newspaper reporter but an annoying wife), and I always want the facts, the explanation, and the logic before I’ll agree with just about anything.

But the Word of God, my compass in life and especially in the storms, tells me that as believers we are different than others in this world because “we live by faith, not by sight.”[1] Or as another translation puts it, “That is why we live by believing and not by seeing.[2]

I must constantly remind myself that I don’t need to see it all because God sees it all from the beginning of history to the end of time. As one writer explains: “Because we see only this sliver of time, we tend to view all of time through the same narrow and ill-fitting glasses. We forget that God is not bound by time. He exists outside of its minutes and millennia.”[3]

He and only He has the big picture. We move ahead not knowing for sure how it all will work out, but believing He does and will guide our way. I don’t know how to say it any other way than we simply walk by faith.

 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1NIV

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:2

With our eyes on Jesus, we can continue to walk by faith and not by sight. God’s Word promises that He is able even if we are not. We don’t have to pull ourselves up; His strength will hold us up. We don’t have to just put on a happy face; His peace will fill us up.

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

 

Remember the ABCs of trials: Accept you don’t have the whole picture; Believe a loving God does; and Continue on by faith and not by sight.

 

Lord, Help me to keep my eyes on You and not on the storm around me. Increase my faith so that I can walk boldly in it as I trust You for each day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. Copyright 2012  by Lynn Eib, 50 Days of Hope

[1] 2 Corinthians 5:7, niv

[2] 2 Corinthians 5:7, nlt

[3] Taken from a devotional published by the Outreach of Hope “God Keeps his Promises,” 2001.