2015 was a tough year. It was the year I struggled mightily with my faith. It was the year that I wrestled with God in prayer. I felt like He didn’t hear my prayers, and even if He did, I felt like He didn’t care. As I looked around and saw others receiving answers to their prayers, I felt like God didn’t love me as much as He loved them or He would answer my prayers. I felt like the sure-fire way to not have a prayer answered was to ask me to pray for it.
Did you notice a repeated word? “Felt.” I felt abandoned. I felt unheard. I felt unloved. I was honest with God about my feelings when I prayed. Afterall, He is sovereign and omniscient. He already knew how I was feeling so I might as well go ahead and confess it. Did you notice that I said “when I prayed?” Even though it felt fruitless and pointless, I still prayed. Why? Because I knew that every one of my feelings was contrary to the truth of God’s Word. So I persisted despite my feelings.
2015 was a very difficult year for my family riding on the heels of several difficult years. 2014 was my “Year of Cancer.” But 2015 was even harder. I won’t go into details, but our family just went through some hard, yucky stuff.
I told God, “I cannot take anymore. I just can’t.” As if the One who created me does not know my limitations, my weaknesses! I doubted God’s love for me. I felt unworthy of His goodness to me. I asked Him to scour my heart for secret sin that might be preventing my prayers from being answered. I wondered if I could not be trusted with happiness. Would simple earthly happiness turn my heart from seeking Him fully?
When my faith was assaulted by countless doubts and fears, what did I do? Well, I cried a lot. (Just keepin’ it real, ya’ll.) I also made a conscious effort to tell my husband how I was feeling and not keep my torturous thoughts to myself. But the thing that helped the most was to remind myself of the eternal truths found in the Bible. These were the things that I KNEW to be true even though I did not FEEL the truth of them every moment. I ran to the Word that I have been hiding in my heart since I was a child. I took my sword of the Spirit and poked each rotten lie from the enemy, and they burst like soap bubbles on sharp blades of grass.
I can’t take anymore? “Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and He will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, He will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
God doesn’t love me? “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…” Ephesians 2:4-5
I am not worthy? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Matthew 6:26
I can’t be trusted with earthly happiness? How about some inexpressible joy and glory? “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9
Everything else that we have placed our hope and trust in will fall but GOD’S WORD WILL STAND! I am so grateful to be on this side of cancer. I pray that I don’t have to walk down that road again. But if I do, I know that God always has my best interests at heart. The precious blessing of knowing Him is that He will carry me through whatever He allows into my life. He is the sovereign ruler of the universe and yet He knows my name! How impressive is that?
Life is hard, y’all. It is. And it’s going to continue to be hard until Jesus comes back. But God is eternally good. “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Great is His faithfulness, indeed!