"Only when we understand that God has ordained our suffering can we begin to make sense of it. Only then can we be certain that He has a purpose in it. When tragedy comes, when adversity strikes, we will not be shaken. Yes, we will cry. Yes, we will grieve. But we will move on confidently knowing that God is on His throne, that we are in His hand, that our circumstances are His doing, and that He is working them for our good."
~~ Terry L. Johnson, When Grace Comes Home
Time. For many of us, time feels like the "enemy." We don't want to wait, to be patient, to trust that our immediate circumstances will be used by God to create something far more beautiful than we could have imagined. It all seems so senseless when we are in the midst of crisis, when everything around us appears to be broken beyond repair. The clouds of confusion make it very difficult to comprehend that God is still there, and that He has a plan and a purpose for our suffering.
But I have learned over the years, and through many heartbreaking circumstances, that "time always tells the truth." Eventually we will see the plan, the purpose, and the reason for our suffering. Now, that is not to say that God makes us suffer through agonizing, dream-shattering events in life just to make His point . . . . but He uses the circumstances of our lives, both the joys and the heart aches, to create something that never could have been possible without those moments of darkness. Here's a story to express this truth:
When she discovered that her family was falling apart, she had to decide whether it was the "right" choice or the "wrong" choice to address the infidelity. And because the children were still small, she decided that the "right" choice was to remain silent, protect the children, and try to "fix" her marriage. So she did. For 25 years. All of those years the marriage continued to be violated by infidelity, but she was determined that her children would have a "normal" childhood. And they did. Kind of.
She thought she had made the "right" choice, but discovered later that her silence and all of her efforts to "fix" herself, "fix" her marriage, and "fix" her family made no difference in the ongoing secret life of her husband. And it turned out NOT to be a good choice for her children, because they were completely stunned when she finally broke. After 25 years the marriage finally came to a disastrous end, with much brokenness for the entire family . . . . well, except for the one who had perpetuated the pretense in the first place.
Through the years of deception, blaming, accusations, and lies she wondered when . . . . . how . . . . if God could use all that brokenness to make something beautiful. Sin is sin, and there are consequences for sin. But there is also forgiveness, mercy, and grace. And over time, the truth began to be revealed, and eventually she saw how all those years of heartache, shattered dreams, and a broken heart turned into another story. A story of hope, of redemption, or restoration, and of beauty.
For out of those years of secrecy, pretense, and pain God brought a new relationship that is safe and trusting. And God also brought two little girls from China to live with their "Forever Family" in America where they will be treated with respect and dignity. They will be allowed to have an education, and they will be allowed to be loved. Instead of being tossed to the side of the road in a rural Chinese village, God had His hand on two precious children who now have the opportunity to be part of a family. Instead of being left alone in the "dying room" of a Chinese orphanage, they are now wrapped in the warm embrace of their church family. That might not have happened if she hadn't been willing to walk through that time of darkness in her heart and soul. But it takes time. So, be patient, because "time always tells the truth."
If you would like to join us this week for "In Other Words," please visit our hostess this week, Jennifer at Scraps and Snippets, where you will find links to the other IOW participants and where you can leave your link so we can visit you to read your thoughts on this quote. Have a great Tuesday - and never, ever give up hope! Hugs, Nina