Origionally Posted 4th August, 2016
I was just reading a blog post with this very title – minus the question mark.
I love the blog and the writer and have enjoyed following her life for a good number of years now. I value her honesty and her attitude to life. Nicole, you’re great! So this is no criticism of the blog or the post, just reflections on my response to this particular post.
I started reading about how God has provided for this family when they need it, specifically in the form of providing money when it was needed, through friends. At the same time as thinking “this is great!” I was also thinking, “but this kind of thing never happens to me…”
When have I ever seen God’s amazing provision demonstrated like this? Why can’t I say “God wins, God is good, God is there in the tough times” and not question it? The questions snowball and the resentment spreads further…
I have never had my next mortgage payment provided when I didn’t know how it was going to be paid; I’ve never had friends rally round and pay for cars, food and bills. I’m not in a place where I can see God’s hand in my pain, or even him carrying me when it hurt; God hasn’t miraculously healed anything for me and I can’t be forgiving of some things. Why everyone else but not me? Maybe I just don’t have enough faith?
But then a list started unfurling in my brain: that job, essential to getting out, came through despite the odds; a family came forward and let me live in their house when I couldn’t be where I was before; I was let out of my rent agreement early without charges; I was handed a bakery treat bought for someone else when I hadn’t eaten that day; there was that £200 given to all the interns when I was still living with my parents, so I got to squirrel it away in my bank account for leaving; I had friends’ sofas and beds to sleep in when I needed it; I called someone and got to hospital, instead of taking more tablets; I never got to the point where I took drugs; I never slept on the street; I married the most amazing man who understands; I have friends who believe in me; I’ve found the box of curry I thought we’d already eaten, on the night when I thought I just couldn’t take another thing…
Hang on a minute – this sounds a lot like God’s timely provision to me … right?
What about that day when I really thought I had taken all I could and just wanted someone to sort everything out for me while I curled up in the corner? God didn’t send anyone to step in and do the dishes for me and fix supper. I did the dishes, I fixed supper, then I went to bed and I got up to face another day. It wasn’t the solution I wanted, but surely God still provided by giving me the strength to just get through the next thing?
What about when the pain of all that had and was still happening was just too much, and I felt like my chest was going to burst apart from sadness, and I couldn’t stand to think what life was going to look like in another half hour? No one dried my tears and said it was all a mistake and it had never happened, and no one came and showed me a photo of how much better life would be in a year. I had to dry my own tears, take my own breaths through my own pain and live one more minute, just to start the next minute and get through that one too. It wasn’t what I wanted to happen, but surely the fact that I’m still here means that God gave me the strength to cope with the pain and live the next minute, even if not with joy?
I don’t feel like I have any victories to encourage people with – I feel like I’m still in the middle of a never-ending battle. I find it hard to see the evidence of what God’s given me. But what if each time I manage to raise my sword off the ground again and each time I just miss being slashed across my leg by the opposing sword is God at work too?