In an instant—life changes. It seems to make no sense and happens without warning. Whether it’s the loss of a husband, wife, or child, the reality cuts through us and our spirits crumble.
For a moment our faith is shaken, our hearts are broken, and we tremble. At first we may find ourselves unable to process what’s happening. Then fear settles in.
If Satan draws our thoughts away from God, and he’ll try, he gains a foothold. So what are we to do? The answer and foundation is always scripture. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 3:5,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will direct your paths.
The reason it’s one of my favorite verses is that I often make that mistake. I lean on my own understanding. The problem is, it isn’t real—what I understand to be true may in fact be a misconception or illusion, especially when it seems to make sense in my finite mind. I wish that weren’t true of me—I’d love to be cooler than that.
The truth is—we gain our footing through God’s Word. When we are in the midst of difficulties and the world seems dark all around us, His Word says in Psalm 112:4,
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
What an amazing thing to say—that we, the upright, will have light when the rest of the world is in darkness. That is an incredible comfort.
Verses 6 and 7 go on to say,
Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Does that mean that we are not supposed to be shaken when something extremely painful happens? If we are indeed shaken, does that mean our faith is dead?
The key is in the last part of the verse. Are our hearts steadfast? Do we trust in the Lord? As bad news finds its way into our lives, do we fall apart and give up? Or do we allow ourselves a moment to gain our bearings—to pray?
When Gwen and I received the most painful news imaginable from her doctors, resting in the Lord was not instant. But once we took a little time with Him, we were able to get our hearts on solid ground. It isn’t fun, but sometimes God calls us to endure painful things.
If He calls us to walk a particularly painful path, how are we to respond? Do we live in constant fear of bad news, or do we trust Him to do what is best—to carry out His perfect plan? Are we willing to lean not on our own understanding and follow Him completely?
Once we understand that His will supersedes our comfort level, and that following Him may cost us everything, it’s somehow easier to trust Him to do what He needs to do.
This is a choice we have to make—to trust Him, or not to trust Him. I refuse to settle for a world where I live in fear of bad news and am continually surrounded by darkness. I choose Him because He first chose me. He gave me the love of my life. Then, after a time–His time, he took her away. I know it was for a reason. I may never know why–He owes me no explanation. His plan is perfect, and He’ll never give up on me.