I am so glad God is patient with us.
I’ve been worried lately about some people very dear to me, people who are struggling in this life, in their faith. My heart has been so heavy, so burdened. I find myself crying out to God…and simply crying so often. I grasp the pain this life has given them, and I know they are simply trying to make sense of a God who allows so much hard stuff into our lives.
I share my story with them. I explain how God uses our pain to make us stronger, to help us experience Him in deeper and more intimate ways. But I also know when you are in the grips of the pain, when your life seems to be spiraling out of control, you can’t always grasp onto these abstract concepts. Sometimes it’s easier (at least for a season) to choose just to live life on your own.
I know because I’ve been there.
Monday evening, in the midst of my tears, God so clearly reminded me that I need to stop worrying! “Cast all your cares on me,” He seemed to shout at me, reminding me that the burdens are His to carry. He doesn’t want me bearing those burdens. He cares way too much about me…and about those I love.
As the words rushed through my mind, I collapsed on the bathroom floor. “Oh, Father!” I began. “I am so sorry. My faith…why does it have to be so weak? Why am I constantly trying to carry burdens you don’t have for me? Take them. I am helpless to do anything in this situation. But you! You are God! I am no longer begging you to pursue them, to break through their pain. Instead, I’m thanking you that you have them safely in the palm of your hand, that you love them so much more than I do. I’m trusting you to hold them, to draw them back to you. Thank you for the loving reminder that you are in control.”
I wish I could say I haven’t shed any more tears over them, but that would be a lie. But…I am learning to leave these precious people at the feet of the Father, reassured He has heard my prayers and is working behind the scenes in ways I cannot comprehend.
You wanna know something else? The very next morning, I heard this amazing song. I’d heard it before, but the lyrics struck me this time. Let me share just a few of the words that have echoed through the recesses of my mind since Tuesday morning:
“When the going gets tough
And my strength’s not enough
I see You showing up like never before
This battle for my heart
You took on from the start
You are the peace when my mind’s at war
You will never stop fighting for me
When I can’t fight for myself
Every word is a promise You keep
Cause You love me like nobody else”
© S.I.A.E Direzione Generale, Be Essential Songs
What a precious reminder that our God—the God of the Universe—cares for His children so sweetly. That He never stops fighting for us. That as one sweet little lamb wanders from the safety of the flock, He runs after them, pursuing him, doing everything He can to bring that sheep back to the safety of the sheepfold. Every little lamb is so precious—too precious—to the Good Shepherd. He cares about the pain. He cares about the safety. He cares about the heart. And He will never stop fighting for His sheep.
And that includes my precious loved ones over whom I have shed so many tears. My Father has heard my prayers, and He will never stop fighting for them. What precious reassurance to my troubled heart and mind.
Sometimes I just need His gentle reminder that He is sovereign, always in control. Sometimes I need the gentle reminder that God loves those around me even more than I do. Sometimes I need the gentle reminder that He will never stop fighting for me or for anyone else. We are His children, so dearly loved.
So what is my hope, my prayer for those wandering in the pain this life brings?
He pursues them relentlessly. They understand the depth of His love for them. They know just how precious they are to the Father. They see that they are a masterpiece, created in His image for good works He planned before time began.
He gives them a vision for the future. Without vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). They need to see and know that their lives have promise and beauty far beyond anything they could ever hope or imagine. No matter the pain, there is always beauty ahead.
He breaks through the pain. Sometimes pain creates such a barrier we can’t see beyond our immediate circumstances. Only God knows perfectly how to crack through and reach that heart that has been hardened by the pain of this life.
He brings true healing. Only the Father knows how to bring perfect healing. He tells us in Hosea 6 that we cannot fully understand the beauty of healing unless we have experienced the excruciating pain this life brings. I pray those I love experience the joy of seeing Him bandage their wounds.
He does a mighty work in them. God’s best work is done in the midst of the trials of this life. He is always near the broken hearted. He seems to get our undivided attention when we are hurting. When we have no one and nothing else, we find ourselves completely dependent on the Father. That’s where God draws us near and shows us the true condition of our hearts.
He does a mighty work through them. When He gets our full attention and we learn to cooperate with Him, He prepares us to be used mightily for Him. When we find purpose in our pain, we can make sense of the mess this life often brings us. When we realize He can use our pain to help others, we move beyond ourselves and see the bigger picture. This is where we see how our pain is for our good and His glory.
So today I wait and watch expectantly (Psalm 5:3) as God silently works to draw these precious lambs back to the sheepfold. I trust that God is working in them in ways I cannot comprehend. I trust that my Father who loves them so will never stop fighting for them.
What precious peace that brings…