“You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again” Psalm 71:20
This morning, this verse refreshed my soul. Knowing that life won’t always be the season we are currently in, helps me to endure. Knowing that ultimately the suffering we go through here on earth isn’t worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us (Romans 8:18) helps me to keep going day by day.
Enduring is hard work. We are impatient and want God to answer us quickly in our times of need. Sometimes we feel like He owes it to us. There are (many) times where I will just cry out “I don’t get it! Just heal her!” But the more I expect this from God, the angrier I get.
So how do you endure? Start by throwing away your expectations.
I slowly see that the more I expect, the more I am disappointed, and the harder it is to deal. I’ve always thought of myself as a positive person – I am constantly dreaming and thinking and the littlest things excite me and bring so much joy. But I have noticed that having unreal expectations of what this life has to offer has lead to disappointment, and quickly to the agonizing pain of suffering.
The reality that I face day to day is completely different than my expectations. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t joy, but just that things look considerably different than what my expectations are. Really though, this didn’t start the day we found out about Hope, this has always been something that has been a challenge for me. Whether it was dreaming about my perfect trips and adventures, my perfect marriage and husband, or my perfect friendships, my expectations have often failed me. In short, life has been good – but oh so different than I imagined.
The other week was HARD. Like so hard. I couldn’t deal with watching Hope on my own, because I couldn’t deal with seeing her have seizures. Nothing was new or different, it was the same as always, but I just couldn’t get a grip that day. So much so that Lawren came home from work early. That evening, both of us were feeling like we were at the end of our rope. Usually I’ll cry to Lawren and say “I can’t do this even one more day!” And he’ll say “yes you can! You always say that and look at how far you’ve come” and then I get annoyed because he’s always so positive…and it isn’t fair because I used to be the positive one! But that night, I really couldn’t do it. We were trying to feed Hope and give her her medicine and she was just having seizure after seizure. She was hungry, but she could only eat for a couple of seconds before she’d start coughing and go into a seizure. We felt so done. We eventually finished and headed to bed. I was nervous for the morning. We were going to have to do this all over again – and that’s exactly what happened. A horrible morning just like the night before, and we were both feeling even more done than in the night. I thought I was at the end of my rope that night, but now it was even worse. It actually scared me a bit because I had never felt so defeated, so in despair. And the worst part was – we felt so alone. Where was God? We were crying out to Him and her seizures were getting worse. We were so sad – and so mad. I was so angry I couldn’t even stand to see my Bible on the table in front of me – I threw it across the room. I was so beyond done. I have never, ever had my faith tested to this extent. We weren’t crying out to Him anymore – we were yelling.
We somehow managed and the craziness subsided. Later that morning I picked up my Bible off the kitchen floor. Because even though I was mad, I knew deep down that God really was and is my only hope. That morning, God lead both Lawren and I separately to passages of scripture about enduring:
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame” Romans 5:3-5
“And not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not good. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” Romans 8:23-24
My eyes were opened up again to the fact that in this world, we will have many troubles. This is life. Even though God can heal, it doesn’t mean He always does. But His word says He promises that He’ll always be with us – and because of that, we can endure.
See, that was where my problem was. I was putting all of my hope in Him just healing Hope so that we could move on with life. I wasn’t putting my hope in who He is. Yes, a mighty healer – the only one that can – but also a refuge for us. A strength for our weary hearts. A helper for moments of confusion and a Saviour who has died for us.
So my prayers have changed a bit. Yes, you bet I am going to keep asking God for healing, but I’m also asking Him for the strength to endure. To hold onto Him like you would an anchor in rough waters.
“But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the Rock of my refuge” Psalm 94:22