Friday, October 28, 2022

Trusting God When It Is Difficult


This week with her permission, I am going to use the words of a Facebook friend of mine.  She recently posted the words below on her Facebook status.  I got to "know" Rachel in a widow's group online of which I was a member a few years ago.  When Rachel became a widow she and her first husband were missionaries in Mexico.  Rachel too has remarried.  I have much respect for Rachel Chatham and share her words with you below:

For all of my life I've read about the story in the gospels where Jesus calms the storm and rebukes the disciples for their lack of faith.
The complex aspect of this is: Why did Jesus consider it a "lack of faith" for the disciples to be concerned and afraid of the storm?
Commentators say that it is because they weren't trusting in Jesus to take care of them. But the situation is much more complex that that easy answer.
Only two chapters prior to this storm, John the Baptist was thrown in prison for proclaiming the gospel and then later he was killed. Nowhere in scripture is there a guarantee that if we follow Jesus we will have happy and safe boat rides in a turbulent sea.
And yet, Jesus corrected the disciples for their lack of faith.
We all know that I watched my husband die on the mission field all the while his only desire in life was to serve Jesus and to preach the gospel. Isn't that what the disciples were doing in the boat? Weren't they proclaiming the name of Jesus?
When the storm raged It doesn't seem unreasonable for them to be afraid because they all eventually were martyred for their faith.
How did they know that they wouldn't die serving Jesus on a boat as they died later on in proclaiming the gospel? Paul was later shipwrecked, possibly on this very sea, and experienced much suffering because of the cause of Christ.
I think where the problem lies in our thinking is that "God would never..." God would never let our baby die. or God would never allow us to walk through poverty or the loss of a career. and finally, God would never allow my husband die on the mission field........"
Often times, when we approach the encouragement from scripture to "do not fear" it can seem to be based on an assumption that painful tragic things do not happen to God's people.
The encouragement we typically believe is that we are to trust God to calm the storm. Yet, tragic things very much do happen to God's people. The storms aren't always calmed and godly people do literally die in them.
Fear can almost seem reasonable and a normal healthy response, even while trusting God because we don't see in scripture a guarantee of safe travels and protection from tragic events.
What God has shown me in these years of widowhood and painful times, is to trust him, like Daniel, whether we live or die. We trust him whether we are in poverty or blessing, whether we watch our husband die or celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary, whether our baby dies of a life threatening disorder or whether God spares his life.
What God has shown me in the various suffering of my life, is that no matter what happens God is in control and he is good and loving.
I have found the answer to be a whole hearted yielding and surrendering to Jesus no matter what the outcome and having faith in his character that God is good and he's got my back.
II Corinthians 11
"Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked."
II Corinthians 4:17
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

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