if God is with me, why am I still here?

photo-1527137342181-19aab11a8ee8If you were anything like me as a kid, you couldn’t wait to grow up. To drive, to make your own decisions, to eat ice cream for breakfast without anyone telling you no. My son is five and constantly telling me what he’ll do when he’s six. And then when he’s seven. “No, mom, when I’m seven years old, I’ll put two feet on my scooter.”

The truth is, most of us want to bypass the hard stuff. Growing up is so hard. It’s awkward and unknown and constantly changing. Oh hey, so is being a grown up. I think that most of us haven’t lost this mentality though; we are still wanting to bypass the growing up. We’ve already done it, right? We’re grown now, but are we done growing? We look at others around us, maybe women who are older than us or mentors and we wonder how they’ve gotten where they are. How are they so strong? How are they so sure?

The truth is, they’ve been through something.

Think about who you look up to in your life. The ones who you’d like to be more like. The ones who make you wonder how on earth they turned out so immovable, so focused, so… fill in the blank. If you are a follower of Jesus, and they are too, they have been through some of the heaviest seasons.

Those who cling to the goodness of God and rely on Him always have a reason why.

You may be in the middle of it right now. It’s like you can see the beginning; where it started, and it feels like this slow drowning. You have enough faith to believe that God will get you out, but it just doesn’t look that way right now.

Do we want a story? Do we want to be an overcomer? Then you’ll need to go through something that needs overcoming.

Do we want the kind of faith we admire in others? Then we have to be patient with our own stories. Sometimes it’s not very reassuring to hear that God never turns His back. Because if His eyes are always on me, then why the heck is this still happening? If He’s always present, and will never leave me – why isn’t this fixed? Why aren’t I healed? Why am I suffering?

I can’t answer those questions for you. But I can challenge you to ask the question I ask myself when the truth that God is still there doesn’t seem to make it better:

Do I trust that God is all of who He says He is?

Over what I see, over what I feel, over what He’s allowing to happen.

You are not a victim in your own life. Neither are you the author. 

Our God is a good Father who doesn’t jump in to rescue us so that we’ll never feel pain. He disciplines those He loves. We have to feel pain to grow, to know compassion and empathy. And more than anything else, when we are in the midst of pain and growth, we are becoming more like Him.

“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 msg

The Passion Translation says, “You are greatly blessed” when you suffer.

God cares about you enough to allow you to go through the situations that will draw you near to Him. He is so desperate for a relationship with you; for you to grasp that vastness of His love and goodness, that He’ll wait. He’ll allow His own heart to break, watching your pain, to let you go through whatever you’re going through for His glory.

It doesn’t feel like patience. It feels like abandonment. But if God is love, and if He sent His son to die to pay for your life, then your pain can never be wasted. Your silent seasons are never worthless. Everything you are going through now will be redeemed. You are redeemed by the blood of Jesus and the word of your testimony. Your story. Don’t you want a story worth telling? Don’t you want a story so far gone that only Jesus can bring it back?

Glory is just around the corner. Hold on.

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