When I think of “new,” my mind goes to adventure and glamour. But new isn’t always exciting and pretty. What if in a sudden statement or a ring of your phone, your life takes a turn you weren’t expecting? Maybe you received a health diagnosis of infertility, miscarriage, critical disease or new physical limitation that affects you and/or those you love. Maybe its a new realization of not getting into the college you want, or that you are at the highest you will climb in your career and it’s not the summit you hoped to achieve. Or maybe a performance review that yields a new paycheck that doesn’t provide for the next shiny bright thing you’ve desired. The words shared are gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and ultimately kick-start a new life – chapter… that’s different than you desired.
Recalling my own life when it took some new, unwelcome turns, like the difficult doctor appointments during years of infertility, the dropping to my knees when I heard of a friend’s stroke, unchartered consequences of friends currently battling muscular sclerosis and cancer, as well as aging parents’ health issues, my reaction is to immediately cry and wail and mourn. I immediately want to time-travel to before the truth was shared, reverting back to the dream of what should-be-to-come.
All of these are real-life situations that led to a new reality… and reality can bite!
So, what can you do when you are handed a less than desirable new reality?
For me, once I get through my outburst of emotion, I reach for Kleenex and the Lord. Friends and family can comfort me in hugs and kindness, only my Heavenly father can provide the hope, solace, and optimism I need to get through each day. Through prayer and reading scripture I hear His voice. It hasn’t always been this way. As I’ve grown in faith, I see how His perspective shares a different vision. God doesn’t promise Easy Street on earth, He allows temptation…and a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13), He allows trials that will test our faith (1 Peter 1:6-7 and Hebrews 11:17-19), He provides difficult times to sharpen us (Proverbs 27:17), and increase our perseverance (James 1:1-8). He shows us time and time again to put faith in Him alone (Psalm 62) instead of our false sense of security; we cannot control the weather, harvest, loss of a job, gains in the stock market or that our good life will last forever – but we can rely on God. His character is constant, consistent and doesn’t change! Repeat that, God is constant, consistent and doesn’t change! (Hebrews 13:7-8). And in His “old” ways, He reveals His character in ways that are “new” to us. In His work, I become a better wife, mom, daughter, servant of His Kingdom work.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him”. James 1:12
I don’t know why sudden suffering and sorrow occur on earth, but in repenting of my lack of belief, I see how God is a miraculous healer and provider:
- Young, boastful Joseph, who was rejected by family and sold off as a slave, was used as a voice to prepare for a major famine and have the legacy of a wise leader (begins Genesis 37)
- God used an orphaned Jewish girl to become Queen of Persia and save her race from planned annihilation (Book of Esther)
- A loving relationship between mother and daughter-in-law brought a foreigner to faith, resulting in the Messiah coming through their family-line (Book of Ruth)
- He miraculously healed two blind men and one mute, because of their faith (Matthew 9:27-34).
In the waiting, in the pause, God desires for us to put any new (or old) burden on Him, allowing Him to carry the weight that is on our shoulders. He provides hope in suffering. He provides compassion. As I hold hands with friends and family going through difficulties, and as I anticipate new difficulties to come, I pray God will show off. That He will use our pain and suffering for our good and His Glory, this side of Heaven.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most-High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day”. Psalm 46:1-5
Pray with me – Lord, thank you for being a God that doesn’t change. Help me rest in you, to confide my deepest concerns to you and to pass my burdens to you. Please continue to be my unshaken Rock. I need you and depend on you for salvation. Amen. (adapted from Psalm 62).