Like millions around the world, in January, I decided the beginning of the year was as good a time as any to change my life. I had recently become more absorbed with the idea of living with intention, and carefully mapping my own growth. I was about to graduate college, I was about to become a “real” adult, it was important that I did so very carefully and emerged on the other side as the most poised and competent version of myself.
And so I brought all this enthusiasm and anxiety before God, who I was desperate to involve in the process, and I felt him urging me to trust Him. I felt the urge so strongly in fact, that I adopted the verse below as my verse of the year.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.-Proverbs 3:5-6
For whatever reason, whenever God gives me a word or a promise, I without fail, leap to the assumption that since it is promised/assured/directed, it must be easy.
So when I felt assurance from God that my senior year of college would be my best one yet, I was looking forward to breezing through an easy year. But in reality, my senior year turned out to be excruciating in ways that I did not expect. I was on my way back to my apartment sometime in February and I thought to God “I’m sorry, but this hasn’t even close to been the best year.” But then, almost immediately, I began to remember all the miracles and surprises that God had given me in this same “excruciating” year, and without even knowing yet all the ones that would come I realized something that I had never really thought about before: that good, doesn’t mean easy.
Good doesn’t mean you won’t cry during your shift at work, that you won’t staple your sandals because you have too much work to do at the library before you can go home to change etc etc. No. Good means wondrous, good means the creation of something positive, good means growth. Good means stapling your sandals and getting an A on the exam, it means breaking down, God holding you thought it and you learning from the experience, the truth of your dependence on Christ. In light of this truth, I realized that my senior year was in fact, turning out to be the best year of my college experience.
When we say that God is good, or that “it is well” or that, according to the bible, “all things work together for the good of those who love God and those who are called according to His purpose”, good doesn’t always mean easy. Was it not good that Jesus died on the cross for our sins? And yet, we all agree that it wasn’t easy.
Before this year, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it meant to trust God. But I’ve found that that wasn’t really the case. One of my favorite songs says “..trust You (God) completely, I’m listening intently, I trust Your heart and your intentions.”
Trusting God’s heart is the difference between trusting that He is there and He is powerful, and trusting that He is good. Trusting God’s heart is trusting that He means it when He says “… I know the thoughts that I think concerning you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you the end that you wait for.”
And even in the difficult times, when we cannot find meaning to our suffering, (and maybe there isn’t always meaning to suffering), we can always trust, not that God will turn the situation around eventually–because this isn’t always the case– but that God is there with us, holding us through the pain, and the darkness and the bleeding.
One quote that I found helpful early last year said something to the effect of God being with us through our problems, instead of just swooping in and fixing them.
And what’s more, everything in this world, including our pain will pass. The Bible assures us in Romans 8:18 that “..the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
This isn’t to say that I now perfectly trust God, or that I fully understand why He lets hard things happen in our lives, but rather, that I’m learning to. And I believe that it is fact, that God is enough to sustain us in the midst of hardships and difficulties.
Are you in a difficult season of life right now? What have you learned about trusting God? I’d love to hear!