Cuddled up on the couch with my two youngest children on each side of me, and a blanket draped across our laps, we finally finished a novel we had slowly been reading through.
Empty containers once filled with popcorn and half drank cups of hot chocolate with shrunken marshmallows sat on the worn wooden table before us, alongside the thick-paged children’s novel.
Moments before my boy and girl urged me, “read on mommy, keep going.” …And now here we were another book done, the last words fresh in our minds, but discontent spread across each of their young faces.
They both agreed they didn’t like how the story had ended. They didn’t think it was fair that over the many times this book had excitedly left them in suspense as we’d finish a chapter and wait a day or two to start the next—the ending had now done the same, but this time left them unsettled instead of satisfied.
I understood their feelings all too well. I thought about the many times a certain situation has come my way and the ending details have left me uneasy, with hollow emotions…
But it’s often those unstable circumstances that have the potency to mold us into stronger people, to shape us into obedient Christ-followers—teaching us life lessons along the way.
…when you don’t know how the income will cover the monthly expenses, when the marriage unravels, when the teenage child wonders wayward—it’s throwing up your hands to ‘The Great I Am’ and saying “you are more than the struggle I face.”
It’s letting go and letting God…
Fully and faithfully trusting God requires an elevated mindset. It’s realizing that the outcome may be unfavorable, but nevertheless God is still seated on His throne.
Our suffering might just be what draws us close to Him and develops our relationship with Christ.
When we allow our problems to become too big, it’s often because we’ve made Jesus too small.
This idea of Godly perspective was tested for our family earlier this year when my oldest daughter became sick; she’d been having flu-like symptoms. A few days in I knew this wasn’t going to dissipate on its own…
When we arrived to the clinic, the physicians began running blood work. An increased white blood count led to a CT scan which read abnormal and doctors soon confirmed what I already thought:
- Diagnosis: ruptured appendix
- Procedure: emergency appendectomy
Immediately our pastor friends arrived and prayed over my girl. She looked weak and tired laying there, but her words begged to differ as she bravely reassured me she’d be fine, and I knew she would be.
I knew God’s presence was in the midst of this chaos.
The guilt I initially felt for not bringing her in earlier soon faded away and peace flooded my heart as family arrived.
The medical staff was amazing; the surgery was performed without any complications. However with the appendix rupturing, my daughter was required to stay in the hospital to monitor any signs of the infection spreading.
It was on that first night in the little hospital room where my faith began to waver. I had concern regarding my circumstances and the ending details weren’t sitting well with me.
Here I had a healthy daughter and yet my focus had shifted. The thought of our outrageous health insurance deductible overwhelmed me.
At midnight I texted my husband who had gone home for the evening. He reminded me that ‘God had brought us through a lot more in our lives than “just a bill”—that I needed to trust God and be thankful our daughter was okay. I needed to let go and let God. He told me to pray for peace and God would provide what we need, not what we want.’
I thanked him for his many sweet words and recognized that God had used my husband to speak His truth to me.
During those next few moments, in the early morning hours, before the sun had even considered giving a hint of light I studied scripture and caught up on a few daily Bible devotions I had fallen behind on.
I randomly came across the same verse three different times—there are more than 30,000 verses in the Bible and God had laid before my eyes Zephaniah 3:17, not just once or twice, but three times through various devotions and His word during that short time.
‘The LORD your God is in your midst, a Mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.’ -ZEPHANIAH 3:17
I realized I didn’t have to worry or fear that bill, I had a daughter who was healthy and since God is Mighty and he’s going to save me anyway, what’s the use of spending time in anxious thoughts.
It was an obvious sign of God reassuring me with His comfort; He would see us through this trial, we just needed to continually focus on Him…. My girl was healthy and God was healing my worried heart—nothing else mattered.
Even now the hospital bill continues to be negotiated between the billing department and our health insurance.
The novel my little kids and I recently finished has served as an important life lesson reminder that ‘not all things will turn out as expected or hoped for.’
I may not be able to write out the ending details (of this hospital bill) in my favor, but the truth is, the Author of Life is in control and He’s already taken care of the details of the greatest Book ever written. God wants me to trust His power in my times of weakness…My reaction to difficult experiences needs to be an indicator of His Word actively living in my life.