Since July of this year, Pete and I have experience the death of 5 family members. Last night, we lost Uncle Jim. Sometimes I have to wonder, “What on earth is God trying to teach me through these difficult moments in time?” Is this a lesson for me or for someone else? What blessings will come out of these deaths? Today as I sit here and type up my thoughts, I began to reflect on how God always prepares me for my trials in life. Sometimes I don’t recognize the preparation until I am within the trial, then it becomes the ultimate “ah-ha” moment. When this happens, I can feel God showing me the way just like a road lit by the sunrise. It is crystal clear that He has given me the guidance on how to deal with the trial. Other times, I am oblivious to the work He has done to ready me for a struggle. These struggles I usually endure with a little less grace and a little less joy.
So when I get such an obvious sign – like 5 deaths since July, I try to reflect on God’s lesson. Today I was a little fearful about the teaching. I know fear is false expectations appearing real, but I couldn’t help but think that something may be about to happen in my life that could cause tremendous chaos and rock my world. Why else would I need to experience death so many times? Another part of me thought, really Anne, you might just be over thinking God’s will. That certainly has been known to happen! Then like always I opened my daily devotional and it said for today…
“Because the world is in an abnormal, fallen condition, people tend to think that chance governs the universe. Events may seem to occur randomly, with little or no meaning. People who view the world this way have overlooked one basic fact: the limitations of human understanding…If you could only see how close I am to you and how constantly I work on your behalf, you would never again doubt that I am wonderfully caring for you. This is why you must live by faith, not by sight; trusting in My mysterious, majestic Presence. — “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young
So if I limit myself to my human understanding, I may be missing God’s message. While I do not believe that God causes struggles in our life, I do think He foresees that they will happen and allows them to happen. Because He can foresee what will happen, he provides us with the means to attack those struggles and trials head on. He gives us the means to see the joy in the struggle. He gives us the strength to endure the struggle. The only thing is – we have to be open to Him. It is my duty to see the gifts that God has provided me with. It is my duty to be open to God, so that I can clearly see when he is providing me with endurance and perseverance. It is kind of like preparing for a game or a race. God provides us with the tools to play the game or run the race well. It is our choice whether to listen to Him or to push his guidance to the side. Just like a coach, God guides and nudges us gently. He teaches us and strengthens us for the game. He gives us the tools to conquer any scenario that might arise.
As a runner, I have heard the term “hitting the wall” so often. It is that moment in the race when you think you cannot go any further. You have lost your steam (or so you think). You must learn to push passed that barrier and finish the race. Well, God provides that for us in life. He gives us the strength when we “hit the wall” to push further, to endure the suffering, to power through the pain.
Uncle Jim was a perfect example of letting God move him passed the wall. He allowed God to provide him with the strength to endure a very painful cancer. During the time that Jim was diagnosed with cancer, he lost his wife to cancer. Jim nurtured and cared for her so lovingly and willingly. He never doubted in God’s plan. Even after her death, Jim continued to care for his young family. Knowing that his ultimate path would lead to death, Jim never felt sorry for himself. Life is what it is. He lived life to the fullest. He fought his cancer with courage and perseverance. In the end, He allowed God to take him to heaven. He didn’t fight at the end, he just allowed God to finish the race for him.
I want to be like that here on earth. I want to let God coach and strengthen me. I need God to fight my struggles. After all, I cannot do it by myself, and I am proud to say that aloud.
If I can learn to recognize God in my life, I will break the boundaries of human limitations. If I can learn to persevere through struggles and realize there is a lesson to be learned, I will be prepared for the battles ahead. If I can let God take over and relinquish the reins lovingly, my life will be filled with unending joy.