Friday, January 18, 2013

Make it worth it

Last night, my Sammy-boy got it. It was a harder than usual night for him, feeling the disappointment a little stronger. We prayed through it, as a family until we got to the other side, together. Afterward, I shared a comment someone told me recently, about how something I did ministered to them.

"So through our bad situation, someone else was ministered to?" he asked.
"Yes." I answered. He smiled. He got it and I knew he got it. Then I got it.

Life doesn't stop just because your going through something. God's Word promises that He will never leave nor forsake us, no matter what trials or hard times we face in this life. No matter what our family has experienced in 2012, I can tell you that God is good. I can tell you that in some of my darkest hours, God has given me a reason to smile, to rejoice and something to be thankful for. That is goodness.

I have searched out His word, looking for answers. I can't ignore how many people in the Bible suffered and in the end, God was still glorified in and through their suffering. Promises were made, kept and fulfilled. Nothing gained was easy, but it was satisfying.

Christ promised that He'd send the comforter in His place, after He died. We do not sorrow alone. We have a great and mighty comforter that shows us how to laugh again. He sends blessings that are like a hug from heaven. Friendships become lifelines for late night tear fests that end in ridiculous laughter. Children wake you with big morning smiles and sweet kisses. A sunflower grows and blooms unexpectedly in the middle of your lawn.

All through out His Word, he states again and again how much he loves us. His Word is filled with scripture promises, that He has a plan for our lives, not to hurt us or to harm give us a future and hope. Promises of turning ashes into beauty.

It may seem easy to declare the goodness of God when everything is going well and feels ok. The faith challenge is to declare God's goodness when things aren't going well or at least not the way you want them to. What do you do when you're in the middle of the storm and your just trying to keep your boat from sinking?

You praise! You give thanks anyway. You declare the goodness of any other day. As Christians, we can't pretend people aren't watching us. Everyone is. How you react and respond to crisis and while under pressure, will serve as not only as a testament of who you really are, but of who God is.

I'm not advocating being fake. Tragedy and crisis are real and with them, come real disappointment and sorrow. But our tragedies don't change the character of God, they change us. As we change, our perspective changes. When we can face adversity and still trust in God's goodness, this is what produces change. It changes people, changes situations and changes the world.

When you are faced with a life challenge, you can be sure people are watching to see how you are going to respond. Especially if you call yourself a Christian. Acknowledge your pain and disappointment, sure...but don't stay there. You can smile through tears.

There are many hurting people in this world and they are all looking for comfort. What really makes it worth it, is when you can look another person in the eye and with all confidence, tell them about the goodness of God not because of the hardship you are enduring but in spite of it.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

When you can say 'I've been there' or maybe you're still there and you admit it. When you can comfort another person during your own trial...that is what makes the pain and suffering worth it. This is the part that amazes me, especially lately. I am encouraged by others that have gone before me, facing hardship and lived not only to tell about it, but to testify of His greatness. In return, with out even realizing what I am doing, people tell me they are encouraged by me.

How is that possible? I feel like I can barely keep it together most days but I know that I know that I KNOW, that God IS good no matter what. I know He has a great plan and I am living it out. And in this living...people are moved. People are changed. The world is changed.

God IS good...and I know it.

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