Can You Trust God?

Untitled drawing (2)My young friend’s six-week-old son passed away. I remember her comment after he was born with a rare syndrome. “We did not expect any of this. It’s been very difficult.”

My heart breaks for her, and several other friends of mine, who are dealing with enormous difficulties they didn’t expect.

I wrestle in prayer for them. Search for words that will encourage them instead of sounding trite because I haven’t been in their shoes. I don’t assume to know what it’s like to watch your spouse’s decling health, have your husband serve you divorce papers, hear your two-year-old daughter has stomach cancer. Then again….

I didn’t expect to have three miscarriages when I was in my thirties.

My two previous pregnancies had been glitch free. Having children was a piece of cake or so I thought until I watched the ultra sound technician searching for the baby’s heartbeat inside my womb.

Prior to my miscarriages, I knew there were no guarantees in life. And yet, I felt shell shocked when the unexpected hit me.

  • Why is this happening?
  • What did I do wrong?
  • Why is God allowing this?

Man’s wisdom fell short. Scripture fell on deaf ears by my third miscarriage because I wanted what I wanted—another healthy baby cradled in my arms. Not this unexpected, empty womb that resembled a grave.

I grieved. I shook my fist at God. Griped about the fairness of life. Questioned God’s love for me. Sulked. Envied mothers with newborn babes.

My friends have shared, and I concur, that our faith is stretched during these difficult times. We’re driven to our knees in prayer. Sometimes we’re spiritually derailed.

What do you think? Is it the rare person who accepts their circumstances without a whimper? Or trusts God sovereignty in their lives without a question mark?

That’s why I love reading the Psalms which are emotionally-packed as King David grapples with his unexpected: the death of his first-born child by Bathsheba; the betrayal of his grown son Absalom.

However, even when David is “in distress, feels wasted from grief, his strength has failed, his body’s wasted, he feels like a broken vessel, his year is filled with sighing” David always seeks God as his refuge.

In Psalm 31, he….

Acknowledges God’s sovereignty.
Remembers God’s wonderful deeds.
Praises God for His goodness.
Trusts the Lord to guide him; trusts Him with his life.

I love how David admits in verse 22 that he felt “cut off from the Lord when he was alarmed” by his circumstances. However, David rises above his emotions to affirm what he knows:

The Lord sees his affliction.
Knows his troubles.
Heard his cry.

After everything he’s been through, David encourages the reader to love the Lord, be strong and courageous, and hope in the Lord.

That’s my prayer for my heartbroken friends even in this….

What are Friends For?

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My friend sniffs, pausing in the middle of her story to get a tissue from her purse.

I wait beside her in the coffee shop.

Mute. Helpless.

Watching huge tears travel down her cheeks like raindrops rolling down a window pane.

She wipes her trail of tears, and I wonder…

Isn’t there a Bible verse about collecting tears in a bottle?

I swallow the knot in my throat. Blink back my own tears.

What can I say to encourage her?

  • Offer to pray with her?
  • Quote a Bible verse?
  • Assure her everything will be alright.

When honestly, I don’t know how things will turn out.

I touch her arm, but hold my tongue. Fearful of being like Job’s friends. Full of platitudes.

Can she feel my empathy? My longing to make things better?

Perhaps it’s enough I’m here to listen.

My friend eventually changes the subject. Mood lightens. Similar to shifting gears on a bicycle after you’ve pedaled on rough terrain and the landscape flattens out.

We hug; agree to pray for one another. Then go our separate ways.

Nothing changed. Nothing solved.

But just the act of sharing—the good, bad, and ugly—lifts our burdens. If only for the moment.

Spirits strengthened. Eyes fixed again on Jesus. We advance into the night….

Trusting a Sovereign God.

Thankful we’re not alone, even if our friends haven’t walked in our shoes or can fully comprehend the pain.

Consider the Virgin Mary who conceived a son and then went in a hurry to visit Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary, she “cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42).

Surely those words were exactly what Mary needed to hear.

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Mary didn’t have to grieve alone.

Years later, when Jesus was dying on a cross, He saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby.

“He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’

Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’

From that hour the disciple took her into his own household (John 19:26, 27).

Mary didn’t have to grieve alone.

Mary Magdalene among others was also there beside her.

Isn’t that what friends are for?

Loving the people God places in our lives.

Especially for such a time as this…..