Trusting God When Life Hurts, Act IV: Look Back and Remember by Meadow Rue Merrill
My Redbud Writers Guild friend Meadow Rue Merrill is guest posting today as part of a blog series she is doing. This is the fourth installment.
As if being mistaken for a boy and wearing my brother’s hand-me-downs wasn’t awkward enough, growing up I was cross-eyed and wore glasses. When kids called me “four eyes,” their words added one more wound to my already hurting heart.
At night, curling up in bed on our Oregon farm, I often prayed. One night I was filled with a warm, peaceful assurance that by the time I was 13 I would no longer need glasses. Sure enough, by the time my thirteenth birthday rolled around, my eyes were strong and straight. I didn’t need glasses again for nearly three decades.
When life hurts, it is easy to feel alone and abandoned by God. If he loved me, surely he wouldn’t allow me to suffer. Yet, Scripture says not only that God loves us, but that he is love.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us,” I John 4:16 says. “God is love.”
God’s Word also says that God never changes. God can’t be unloving any more than a sunny summer day can simultaneously be dark, cold and snowy. Love is the essence of God.
How we experience God’s love, however, can change based on our perspective and circumstances. When I am hurting, I may not easily access the feelings of peace and security that I associate with God’s love. To boost my trust in difficult times, it is helpful to look back and recall what the Lord has done, just as God told the ancient Israelites to do in Scripture.
Living in a time when people didn’t keep kitchen calendars, the Hebrew nation remembered God’s miraculous deeds and provision in leading them from slavery to freedom by celebrating special feasts. When you are hurting, you may not feel like throwing a party. Instead, try quietly reflecting on ways you have seen God act on your behalf in the past.Remembering how God strengthened my eyes when I was hurting as a child assures me that he still cares about my hurts today. Keeping a prayer journal is also useful. Try writing down your needs and answered prayers so you’ll have a record of God’s faithfulness. Having kept a journal from the time I was 12, I often read back to remember ways God has shown me his love, many times through friends who sent a note or brought a meal or met a need that I couldn’t. And that has helped me keep trusting God.
During one financially difficult time in our family, one of my children prayed and asked God to provide $50 so he could have enough money to attend a local Christian camp. That very week a letter arrived in the mail with $50 from a friend. Such answers to prayer remind me that I can trust God, even when life hurts.If you haven’t experienced God this way, dare to ask him to reveal himself to you. The key is to have a humble, seeking heart. This isn’t tossing a wish at an impersonal universe. This is connecting with the one who created the universe and purposefully placed you in it.
What about you? What helps you trust God when life is painful?
Meadow Rue Merrill is an editor, speaker and Christian columnist who writes books for children and adults from her home in Mid-coast Maine. This summer she is posting a two-month summer blog tour on “Trusting God When Life Hurts.” Follow along at www.meadowrue.com. And follow her on Twitter @MeadowRueWrites or at Facebook.