There were times when I looked at my life and could only see a series of disappointments. The life I wanted bore no resemblance to the life I had, and the sting of failure and rejection weighed me down. As a writer and storyteller, I had imagined my life to be a grand love story. When romance eluded me, it was difficult to cope with the loss. During the decade of my thirties, God finally got the message across that my life story wasn’t about a perfect romance with a man. Instead, it was about developing a relationship with my Creator, Who had chosen to pursue me. My perspective shifted over time, until I reached a point where all I could see when I looked at my life was God’s faithfulness to me. Disappointment was overshadowed by blessing and provision.
God is still working to mold my perspective, so that it becomes increasingly aligned with His truth. It turns out that the story of my life isn’t about me, at all! I am not the protagonist, God is. As much as this upsets my innately self-centered humanity, it strengthens my sense of hope and peace. There is a comfort in knowing that there is a bigger story at work in my life, and its Author has a stake in the outcome. As I look around during these times of uncertainty, I see God’s faithfulness surrounding me. I feel an assurance that, while the road ahead may get rough, He will never leave me or forsake me.
The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful-
for he cannot deny himself.
2 Timothy 2:11-13
I have begun to feel that I am handling the current international crisis in too happy of a manner. This is not to say that I don’t have anxiety about what is happening because I do. I worry for my country, my family and friends, and my sponsor children in Haiti. But thus far, with God’s help, I have been able to have a predominant feeling of peace. I know that I am particularly blessed that my livelihood is not in danger. I also do not have children to worry about, and I am still far enough from retirement that the market volatility could be seen as an opportunity. These factors probably give me an advantage in dealing with the uncertainty. There is no way of knowing how I would handle these circumstances if my life situation were different, but I know how God would want me to respond.
If ever there were a good time to fully absorb that it’s not about me, it is now. And, if ever there were a good time to adopt a God-centered view of the world, it is also now. It is easy to get bogged down in the stresses of daily life, regardless of whether there is an international crisis or a personal trial. What I’ve come to understand is that God’s faithfulness is the same, no matter the circumstance. A few years ago, I wrote a blog called Don’t Cry Over Spilled Coffee, which focused on having perspective in the little trials and frustrations of life. At the time, I was reading Corrie ten Boom’s book, Tramp For The Lord. One morning, I spent almost an hour cleaning up coffee that I had spilled all over the kitchen, but the only thing I could think about was Corrie and her sister Betsie in the Nazi prison camp, living in the shadow of the crematorium.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
1 Thessalonians 5:8-10
You could look at Corrie ten Boom’s story and propose that a faithful God would not have sent her to that prison camp, where her sister would die. But when you read The Hiding Place, you get a bigger view of God. I often think of Betsie and Corrie in their overcrowded barracks, reading the Bible aloud and it being translated into multiple languages so that women from all over Europe could hear the hope of God’s Word. That prison camp was not a “God-forsaken place” because He was there with them. God used Betsie and Corrie to spread His Name to others, whose situation was even more desperate.
Looking at our world today, we see sickness and distress. There is fear and worry not only about the virus, but about the long-term economic impacts of how we are responding. Yet when I look at history, and the amazing things that God has done, I wonder how He will use this. What is God doing, and how can I be in on it? I sense that I need to be more focused on praying for my friends and family. I am sure they need my prayers more than my upbeat attitude, right now. And I am looking for ways to help others. Perhaps I can be a means of God’s faithfulness in the lives of other people. My encouragement to you is that God is the hero of this story, and we know how the story will end. Even if our earthly lives end with suffering, that is just the beginning. If you haven’t read The Hiding Place, maybe now is a good time. The word unprecedented is being used a lot, these days, but history shows that struggles are nothing new. We can learn from the saints who came before us that God’s faithfulness is woven throughout it all.