We've been so blessed by the outpouring of love and concern from our friends, and even some strangers, over this past weekend as we shared with all of you our recent challenges with Alan's diagnosis. God has created us for community, and we find such healing and encouragement in the support of others. As God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone." Even Adam's life in a perfect garden with God Himself as a Companion wasn't complete without human fellowship.
But the greatest strength I find is in the promises of God. If that sounds shallow, it is probably because you have not been where we are today. Right now there are promises I want, promises that God doesn't give. I want Him to promise that my husband will not get very sick during treatment, and even more, will recovery quickly and completely. I want promises that God will intervene and take away all unpleasant circumstances.
I don't have those promises.
Instead, though, I have better promises. Promises that God will never leave me or forsake me. Promises that He will not allow more than we can bear. Promises that nothing really bad will happen to our family. Because He has said that He will make all things work together for good to those that love Him.
I can do that!
I don't know how I can possibly handle some of the potential outcomes of this crisis, but I know how to love Him. I know how to trust His promises. God is who He says He is in His Word--I stake my life on it.
So like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, I feel like we stand before the fiery furnace of affliction. "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace....But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Maybe we will be burned by the furnace of affliction. Or maybe God will do something miraculous and prevent that. Either way, God is with us, and we are part of a mighty brotherhood of faith. We don't need circumstances to testify as to whether He is loving and powerful, as He says He is. Some of our "cloud of witnesses" were delivered by chariots of fire; others were beheaded in cold dungeons. All were delivered by God, and all will someday stand together on the Sea of Glass and testify that His grace was sufficient.
There are times my heart fails at the thought of trials that may be ahead. But through everything I have a wonderful peace and absolutely solid assurance: God is going to use this situation to glorify Himself. By that, I don't mean He is a glory hog, or that our suffering is irrelevant to Him. Far from it!
I mean God is going to use this to prove that He is good, and to change us into His image. He is showing the universe that He is love, that His law of love is the best way to rule the universe, and that He can transform even sinful people into His image of selfless love. And even better, He can use any circumstance--even ones that are against His will--to contribute to that process.
All things DO work together for good, for those who love God and have committed their lives to Him. I know He is coming soon to deliver us from pain and darkness, and to conquer the enemy forever. And trusting that puts everything else in my life into perspective.