The last year has been one of the bumpiest my family and I have ever experienced. Going from what seemed to be the average complications of life to discovering our daughter had a malignant brain tumor had major impact on all our lives, to say the least.
During a year of surgeries, treatments, and a recovery more fraught with emotional issues than I expected, God turned my thinking—and praying—upside down. Instead of asking him to make things better, I’ve learned to ask that he equip me for whatever’s next. And I can’t help but look back and be amazed at the ground covered and appreciate the progress made, yet I have no desire to go through it again.
But I know I will.
Because that’s the world we live in. And that’s the journey God has put us on. Our trials and challenges are unique to who we are and are uniquely designed to challenge and try us. God has made sure of that. His Word even says it. (Romans 5:3-5))
And he’s also equipped us for each trial and each trial also equips us for the next. We can look back over our lives and see the difficulties, but if we stop there, we miss the strength and the good that comes out of it. (Romans 8:28)
Our human nature pushes us toward the easy way, the less treacherous paths. But then we find ourselves left in the trenches without a view of the sun breaking a dark horizon. We miss the revelation of God’s faithfulness and hope and find our world limited to the muck surrounding us.
However, our spirit desires to take the rough terrain upward because it instinctively knows the promise waiting to be discovered over the next ridge. It knows without a doubt that God’s there waiting to welcome us into deeper intimacy with him.
One of my goals for last year was to stop looking at life as a problem to be solved and accept it as a journey to be enjoyed, to learn from it and to grow. Looking back I can see he’s still answering that prayer and showing me the beauty present in all ashes. He’s teaching me not to be afraid to get my hands dirty in order to sift those ashes to find the jewel waiting to be discovered. He’s nudging me on to climb the treacherous mountain so I can see the sun peeking over a horizon filled with promise. He wants me to know that I will find his presence even in the darkest of places.
And he’s teaching me joy in the midst of trial, the ability to still laugh and appreciate special moments despite very imperfect conditions, and that I’m not responsible for the results. He is.
This is the beauty of God’s faithfulness. He knows who we were, who we are, and who we can be. He sees our potential despite our brokenness because he designed each of us for a special purpose. And he gives us everything we need in this life to accomplish it, then leaves it up to us to decide whether or not we’re willing to do the hard stuff to get the greater reward.
And that reward is worth all of the struggles and hassles, because it’s God himself. He is our portion and our great reward. You can’t find better treasure than that.
Praying and believing,
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