Can anything ever seperate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us.
Sometimes we equate hard days and difficult seasons of life with a doubt about God’s love toward us. We often see others who seem to have everything going their way- and it appears life is so easy for them. We begin wondering what we’ve done wrong for things to be so difficult for us. In the adoption world, this is often seen as some people have a very smooth process without any bumps, and their waiting time seems to be a fraction of the norm, all while the adoption funds flow in with little to no effort; so it appears from the outside. We all could participate in this comparison game in every facet of life. You might think it seems to be a cinch for others to grow a church and reach others overnight, while it feels like you will never see that growth. It seems like others live in financial bliss while you struggle to make ends meet. It seems to be a piece of cake for others to raise respectful and godly kids, while you’re struggling to figure out where you missed something.
Do you ever look at your calloused hands and wonder when the work will pay off? It would be easy to look at ourselves in the mirror and see the bags under our eyes because we have been working around the clock to raise the necessary funds to bring our children home. It would be easy to wonder why things seem so easy for others and it seems like this season has felt like climbing one treacherous mountain after another.
Can I tell you today, that the trials you are facing today have nothing at all to do with God’s lack of love for you? What would happen if we began to see these difficulties and struggles as opportunities? What if the allowance of these trials were seen by us instead as displays of the greatness of His love? The gold that comes forth after the dross has been burned away is far more beautiful than the beginning combination of dross and gold.
He doesn’t love someone else more. He isn’t out to get you- and He is not working against you. No! He is moving on your behalf! (And I know on behalf of our family and the children we are fighting for!) He showed the ultimate display of His love for you when He sent His Son to die a brutal death so you could know Him and be with Him for all eternity. That’s a pretty great love. And He also lives to make intercession for you. And He hears you when you call, AND He pursues your heart daily, moving in circumstances to make you more like Him.
Last week I found myself crumbling at the feet fo Jesus after what I would consider to be a super challenging day homeschooling and taking care of our five kids on not much sleep. We still wait amidst a deafening silence for any word about the two children we have been fighting for for nearly a year. All of these things were going on and we had also just received the news that we would not be receiving the last grant that we had applied for. So far we have not received one at all. And while we have worked tirelessly to raise nearly $25,000 (and the Lord has provided there miraculously!), there remains $10,000- $12,000 ahead. I drove down the road talking to the Lord on the way to soccer practice- and the tears just fell.
And then, I suddenly realized that I have hung on to an idea that is not true, biblically, without ever knowing it. Sometimes as I look forward to what I am waiting to be finished and resolved, I unknowingly have an unrealistic idea that when we finally arrive there, all will be well. THEN, most of these hard days will dissolve. THEN, I won’t have to deal with this or that. As a gentle whisper to my heart, Jesus reminded me. He reminded me, that as responsibilities increase, there will be more required of me. He reminded me that hard days will never disappear. Even when my two children are home…even when I FINALLY feel organized. Even when I lose that mysterious 10 pounds that crept back on. Even when I feel like we have refined our schedule and have our adoption process paid for. Even then…the hard days will still be there.
But then He reminded me of something else that greatly overpowered the knowledge and realization of the difficulty of life, at times. He reminded me that NONE of these “hard days” are wasted. He is using every single one of them. He is building me into an instrument that can be used by Him to bring Him glory. He is using these challenging days that I crumble at His feet to remind me that I CANNOT DO WHAT HE HAS CALLED ME TO DO IN MY OWN STRENGTH. Those days will be my lifelong reminders of the necessity of being completely dependant on the Holy Spirit to live through me. Let’s face it- I tapped out my resources a long time ago. To do what the Lord has called me to do- I am required to have a desperate reliance on HIS strength, HIS wisdom, and HIS words…HIS grace, and HIS compassion flowing through me.
And while there is an enemy bringing about destruction and havoc in a fallen world, an enemy who despises seeing the fatherless joined to a godly family- there is a GREAT BIG GOD, full of unfailing love and mercy who is using every bit of brokeness, every feeling of inadequecy, and every trial to prepare me and to prepare you for what’s ahead. Trust me, friends. We would not be ready for the work ahead of us without the trials behind us. We would not be equipped to encourage others to stand in the storm on God’s faithfulness alone, had we not stood in the hurricane ourselves.
God is with you. Our circumstances are far from a reflection of His love, but rather tools God is using to keep us at His feet. This is the only place we can properly receive His instructions and relay those to the masses around us. The battles won’t end until we are home with Him, but victory is immanent. He is sharpening us. He is preparing us. We will be vessels who are ready for what’s ahead. Every difficult day between now and the completion of whatever it is we’re waiting for, can be viewed through a new lense- the lense of His grace. This gracious love will not waste a single trial we walk through, but will take every one of them and use them to make us into gold. Each challenge will make us more like Him.
Does God love me? Does God love you? Yes. And the difficult days are just as great a display of that boundless love, as every easy and simple day. In the easy and in the difficult, nothing can seperate us from that love.