I'm so blessed to have my sweet friend Terri posting here this morning. She has been my mentor, friend and an amazing example of a mother and grandmother. In her post you will get a glimpse of her amazing testimony as a mother who has lost a precious child.
Just over 5 years ago, and 5 weeks before his 16th birthday, my son Mitchell got to do something that I hope everyone reading this blog is looking forward to—he got to see his Savior face to face! On December 28th, 2007 Mitch was skiing when he ran into a tree and was instantly with the Lord.
God in His great wisdom, love and grace carried me (and continues to carry me) through the worst, most difficult thing a mother can ever go through. I have much I could share with you about how gracious the Lord has been to me and my family both before and after Mitch’s accident. (I don’t like to call it an accident—I know it was no accident, it was part of God’s sovereign plan for Mitch!) However, space is limited in this type of forum.
I’d like to share with you four principles* to remember when trouble comes in your own life. It is one thing read a testimony of the Lord’s graciousness to my family, but my prayer for you is that you would know what to do when troubles or trials come in your own life.
When trouble comes (and it will come, God’s Word promises us we’ll encounter it), there is a built-in danger AND accompanying opportunity to watch God work and show His greatness to others.
The danger is always the flesh -- when we react wrongly to trials, it makes our problems worse. When we are living in the flesh, we are handling life the way we want to handle it, instead of handling life the way God wants it handled. Self-centeredness results in anger, bitterness, despair, hopelessness, fear, and anxiety. We may have done nothing to cause the trial, but we are responsible for our reactions to it. We can respond selfishly, thinking only of how this trial has affected us, our life, our plans, or we can respond like Christ and be concerned about the spiritual needs of other people.
God who saves us from our biggest crisis—the loss of our soul—eternal separation from Him--can save us from any lesser crisis, trouble or trial. Once you are a child of God, your greatest crisis is over. You may lose the whole world, but you will not lose your soul.
The gospel, God’s Word, is always the answer -- Increasing intimacy with Christ is the only lasting and satisfying answer to life’s problems. Any comfort, strategy, etc. must point us to Christ. Just like when we became saved, when we came to Christ, we have to turn in humble dependence to our Lord Jesus Christ for our strength—we have to trust God’s provision for our comfort and solace.
Crises are designed by God to help put the components of our life back in their proper perspective-they help us define what is truly important. They bring us face to face with God. There is no reality more significant than the facts that God exists, that He made us, and that He made us for a very specific purpose.
God’s glory is always the goal -- Paul said “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31) If glorifying God is the purpose of our lives, it will determine which roads-which right decisions—will bring us to that destination. Our responses during times of great pressure and suffering will reveal whether we truly believe that God is the most important reality or whether we think we are the most significant factor in life. Our goal must be to use every circumstance to show in some way that God is first. The result will be a lasting joy and peace no matter how difficult the circumstances. We must put God and His glory first, but it’s hard to put Him above my desires if I don’t know Him well!
The answer for the fears we experience in times of crisis is an increased awareness of the nature of our God. Do you have a hard time trusting God? It could be we refuse to trust Him because trusting means giving up control of our lives in some area. Another reason we have a hard time trusting God is that we don’t know Him well. In every circumstance of life, we have a trust decision to make. Will we believe who God is and what God has said about our situation, or will we believe what our own heart tells us about our situation—influenced by our natural sinful bent?
God is always enough -- When there are things you don’t know about your life’s situation, you must focus on what you do know about God. How can we find rest—how can our heart find rest—in times of trouble? We must increase our knowledge of God Himself—the one who is controlling all the factors of our life in His sovereignty. We may not be able to see exactly what He is doing or how He will make something turn out, but if we know Him well, our heart can rest. A crisis reveals what we are made of spiritually. If we have a high biblical view of God gained through the consistent study of His Word, faithful preaching of the Bible, personal meditation on the Word of God and encouragement and fellowship with God’s people, we will run to our Strong Tower, and our hearts will rest because God Himself is always enough!
God has been gracious and merciful to us since Mitch’s accident by immediately bringing to mind that He makes no mistakes, that He loves Mitchell more than we do, that He wasn’t surprised by this, that this was His plan from the beginning. We still grieve—but His love and care for us goes so much deeper. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of Mitch, sometimes with joy, sometimes with tears, but God truly is enough as we choose (with His help) to keep our eyes on Him! Dear readers, always seek to know the Lord more intimately, become confident that HE IS ENOUGH!
"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever." - 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18
If I can be a help, an encouragement, or even a prayer support for you during a time of trial, don’t hesitate to contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org
*(Months before Mitch’s death the Lord brought a small book “When Trouble Comes” by Jim Berg across my path, and these principles are from that book.)