But, GOD!

by | Mar 13, 2024

It was May 13, 1999. I hung up the phone with my dad, sobbing in confusion and shock over the news he had just given me. My brother was gone. He had taken his life after a long battle with depression. I couldn’t fully process the reality of his death and I didn’t have a handle on how such a significant and painful loss would affect me.

But, God…

Was already preparing a path of healing before me that would bring purpose from the pain. A path that included: the kind and comforting presence of friends who had experienced the same tragedy, taking a semester off college to go home to grieve, the timely return back to college the year I met my future husband, the compassionate heart He was forming in me for others whom I would minister to in the future, and a deepening of my faith and trust in His care over my life.

God doesn’t passively look down on us with pity when we experience pain. 

Scripture says, Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

God is not inactive in our suffering. The truth is quite the opposite. He walks with us through it all…holding us, protecting us, providing for us, strengthening us, intervening for us, and moving us forward toward healing, peace, and joy again. I love how David speaks of God’s intentional care for us:

“You hem me in behind and before and you lay your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:5

When our lives are disrupted by the unexpected, like tragedy and trauma, being hemmed in by God is similar to what a cocoon does for a caterpillar. The caterpillar is about to transform into a butterfly and it needs safety, protection, and time to do so. Likewise, we need time, care, and a safe space to heal, protected from expectation, judgment and shame. Our lives will never be the way they were, But, God makes all things beautiful in His time. 

Just like the caterpillar is hemmed in by the cocoon in order to become what God has always meant it to be, so it is with us while God reclaims our stories.  

Unforeseen circumstances like tragedy and loss may enter our story…But, God. The God of all comfort holds us together when we are falling apart and, in time, mends our broken hearts.

Betrayal and rejection may leave us questioning our worth and value…But, God’s view of us never wavers or changes. We are perfectly loved by Him. 

Sin and shame may make us want to run and hide…But, God who is so rich in mercy and love cleanses us, forgives us, and pursues us.

Hurt and disappointments may lead us into despair…But, God, who is our Living Hope, does not leave us there.

The Bible contains stories of people facing difficult circumstances and uncertainty, but God intervenes to ignite hope and possibility.

In the book of Exodus, Moses faced the Red Sea before him and Pharaoh’s army behind him…But, God parted the waters so His people could walk across safely on dry land, then closed the sea at just the right time to sweep away the enemy.

In the Gospels, we read a story of a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, isolated from the community, and in debt to doctors who could not heal her….But, God healed her instantly after she reached out in faith to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe as he passed through a pressing crowd of followers. 

After the Fall, we became slaves to sin and enemies of God…But, God demonstrated His love for us in that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8)

Past suffering does not protect us from future suffering, but God’s promises protect us from losing hope. 

On December 5, 2024, I experienced loss yet again when my mom passed away unexpectedly shortly after being diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer. The promises of God had never been more real to me than when I witnessed the peace and hope my mom exuded as she was preparing to meet her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

God is an anchor your weary soul can cling to when the storms of life are tossing you to and fro. May you walk through every high and low with a steadfast trust in a God who is not distant, BUT ever-present with you, hemming you in on all sides. 

Reclaiming Our Hope In What God Can Do,

For more encouragement on how to trust in the God who can when you feel like you can’t, listen to Episode #122 of the Living The Reclaimed Life Podcast with Maurice F. Martin.


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