The past six months have brought a whirlwind of change and physical trauma. I don’t know how I’ve gotten through it, but for the grace of God. In the days when I can’t even focus my mind to pray, the Lord has held me together. When I feel incredibly alone and unsure of my purpose, the reality of who God is keeps me going. He sees me, even though discouragement pulls hard at me.
Since November, I’ve felt the frenzy of chaos, upheaval, and uprootedness. At that time, two years before retirement, my husband received a necessary promotion that moved us clear across the country and out of our home of seventeen years.
This time has brought an emergency room visit and a triple surgery in a new city. I now navigate a metropolis of seven million people to find and visit nine different specialists for my autoimmune disease. All have performed and ordered new procedures in new hospitals, making me into an anxious guinea pig. My husband now starts work before dawn and ends usually at bedtime. Constant upheaval stirs within our own large family scattered all over the nation, and crises flare in the lives of parents and siblings.
I rarely allow myself to even think that I can’t take anymore, because I know from experience that “more” is usually right around the corner. God help us!
I’ve been studying Isaiah through all of this, finding myself exactly like the Jewish nation as Isaiah buffets them repeatedly with words of rebuke over how little of their faith actually shows in their actions. They have emergency backup plans, rather than solid reliance upon God’s faithfulness. They have careless and foolhardy boldness at times when they should wait on the Lord. God tries them, and they are found wanting.
That is me.
With a head full of theology, I should feel tranquil when even more is added to this current pile. Rather, I feel the whirlwind of overwhelm and the panic of anxiety.
I’m not much of a Christian.
But then, who is? We all must be repeatedly brought to this place where we know in our bones that it isn’t about our good theology or our calm in the battle. No, it’s about Jesus. He alone is our Rock. He alone will orchestrate our lives and bring us through. He alone will hold us together.
I know this. I know that God brings, superintends, and orchestrates these trials for my good. He has proven it. My emotions quake, but I know.
The same God who wrote, “Comfort ye my people!” and who predicted and promised rescue, salvation, and victory first told his people, “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD” (Isaiah 39:5b-6 ESV).
Off they will go, brought into captivity in Babylon. God repeatedly promises recompense upon those who harm them. He repeats words of comfort to them, urging them not to fear, even in this. But still, they must go. It is written.
Why? Why do these things happen? Why?
Believe it or not, it’s for our good. It’s good for me when the Lord allows me to come to the end of myself. It teaches us, his people, the same lessons he was teaching Israel. He wants us to know how desperately we need him, that he alone is God, and that he alone can rescue us. He wants us to learn to trust him, rather than to fear.
“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘And my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me there was no god formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the LORD, and there is no savior besides me‘ (Isaiah 43:10-11 NASB, italics are mine).
If there’s only one Savior, it’s pretty important that we know. To know that we can’t save ourselves is essential information. If life was without struggle, we wouldn’t seek the saving we need. We would complacently coast through life, lazy and content. But we need saving, and Jesus is the one who does it. Thus, we turn and turn again to him.
In chaos, frenzy, unexpected tragedy or blessing, change, and terror, he is with us. He wants us to know, believe, and understand this, because he loves us. This is why we face times like this, why we all face these kinds of trials.
All of this comes from love. All of it.