Making All Things New

“Why?”

I have a really bad habit of asking God “Why?”. Why did You allow this to happen to me? Why didn’t you allow this to happen? Why is this still happening to me?

Why, God?

To be transparent, the reason I haven’t posted in a while is because I’ve been really caught up in the “why’s” of my life. It seems as though I walked into a desert I haven’t been able to escape from. Tired, exhausted, and dehydrated, I’ve been searching for an exit with no clear signs for years. And any time I finally seem to find the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”, a sandstorm comes and violently sweeps me away before I can grab the hand that will pull me out of the storm. And when I awake, I’m back where I started, abandoned in a desert.

To translate that imagery into something more tangible, the past few years have been rough. Having to hold the hand of my dreams as they died right in front of me was rough. Any one that truly knows me knows I’ve been through enough. I really don’t need more “trials” to test my strength. It’s been tested, bruised, broken, and shattered quite a number of times as is.

But there is one theme here. One bit of redeeming light in this pit of darkness.

JESUS.

After some of the worst of my trials, I have to admit that I turned my back on Him. Suicidal thoughts plagued my mind. It seemed like the only way out of a trial that wasn’t ever going to end. I was angry and upset that such a thing was allowed in my life, a life already tainted by pain, betrayal, broken trust, and deceit. And every time I called out to Him, I felt my hand retract, scared that He too would hurt me. Scared that He too would wait until I completely trusted Him to leave me astray.

Oh, how foolish I was.

This past Sunday at my church, we sang a song I’d never heard before called “Satisfied In You (Psalm 42)”. While there is a section of the song that stood out to me, I’ll share the ones that impacted me the most:

“Let my pain reveal your glory as my only rest,
Let my losses show me all I truly have is You.” 

I’ve had some very real pain. I’ve had some devastating losses. I’ve been through trial after trial, but at the end of the day, they all point to one person: JESUS. Perhaps God allowed these things in my life to show me weak areas in my walk with Him. Perhaps He did so to break me free from things I was choosing over Him. Perhaps He was “ripping a band-aid off” and allowing my wounds to heal so they wouldn’t get infected.

I’m done asking Him “why”. The answer isn’t as important as I thought.

The important thing is that I finally see a true light at the end of the tunnel, a light encapsulated by a hurricane, where the winds crash against the rocks around it the but the light Himself, Jesus Christ, is calm and soothing. There will continue to be pain. I couldn’t tell you what tomorrow or the day after will look like. I’m sure I will still face hardships.

But this remains true: I don’t have to fear. My Messiah is making all things new.

Sweet Victory

I feel thorns where my crown was. I am weak but I’m alive. From the dusk until dawn, I’ll survive ’cause I got sweet victory. Nobody can take it from me.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

You are my shelter and my shield; I put my hope in Your word” – Psalm 119:114


Some things are simply out of our control.

It doesn’t matter how often you pray, how many people you’ve “brought to Christ” (truth is, the answer is zero, but that’s a discussion for a different day), or all the ministries you serve in. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pastor or if you’ve been saved for three seconds. It doesn’t matter if you’ve served God for two days or if you’ve served Him for decades.

Nobody is immune to (as Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 12) “weakness, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and pressures”.

Paul, considered to be the greatest man who lived besides Jesus, wasn’t immune. In order to keep Paul humble, God sent him a “thorn on his side”. Nobody knows exactly what that thorn was. There are a few theories, but truthfully, when it comes to God’s Word, it’s better to take something at face value than try to fill in the gaps with “theories”. That said, Paul prayed THREE TIMES for this thorn to be removed, but God denied the request.

Could Paul have benefitted from the removal of the thorn? Most likely. If it was a physical ailment, certainly a better physical state could have helped the spread of the Gospel. If it was a mental ailment, certainly a clearer mind would have helped his ministry. No matter what his “thorn” was, it is arguable that the removal of it would have brought glory to God somehow.

But we’re not the ones who get to determine that: God is.

One day, I hope to look back on days like today and say “I’m glad that’s over”…but what if it isn’t? What if God doesn’t remove the hardship I’m dealing with right now? I used to think my hope was in a “better day”…but what if, in God’s infinite wisdom, that “better day” never comes?

Just yesterday I stumbled upon a blog of a sister in Christ who has had many more years dealing with this same “thorn”. Reading just a couple of her posts brought me to tears. Finally, I had an explanation, an answer to all of my questions. Things suddenly made sense to me. God used her pain and her struggle to help others in the faith. Her thorn was ultimately removed (or so it seems).

But what if God says “no” to me?

I spent some time praying specifically about this yesterday and one verse kept coming up. Ever since, the verse has popped up in numerous places, leading me to believe God really wants to drive this point home in my heart.

But He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

If the healing never comes, His grace is sufficient for me.
If I never go back to the person I used to be, His grace is sufficient for me.
If everything in my life slowly derails, His grace is sufficient for me.
If nobody knows about my pain but me, His grace is sufficient for me.
If nobody ever understands the depths of my hardships, His grace is sufficient for me.
If nothing truly ever seems “redeemed”, His grace is sufficient for me.

God CAN remove this hardship. I believe God WILL remove this hardship, but even if He DOESN’T remove this hardship…I will still have SWEET VICTORY in Him.

You are my shelter and my shield; I put my hope in Your word